Do Not Be Afraid

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”
(Luke 12:1-7)

Scripture Study

12:1 hypocrisy: The besetting vice of the Pharisees. As leaven permeates dough, their teaching and example influence the crowds in a disastrous way, especially when they fail to practice what they preach (Mt 23:1–8). Their sins will be brought to “light” (12:3) at the Last Judgment (CCC 678).

12:4–5 do not be afraid: Since physical death is only a moderate threat compared to spiritual death, Jesus calls us to have courage in the face of persecution and to be more concerned by temptations to sin. hell: Literally, “Gehenna”. See note on Mt 10:28 and word study: Hell at Mk 9:43.

12:7 the hairs of your head: Nothing is hidden to God (Ps 139:1–6), and no suffering goes unnoticed by him (21:18; Acts 27:34). Christian martyrs can therefore look beyond the afflictions of this life to God’s vindication and eternal reward (Rev 20:4).

Scripture Reflection

Nothing—not even the most insignificant thing—escapes God, his providence and the judgment he will mete out. For this same reason, no one should fear that any suffering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity.

The teaching about fear where Jesus tells us that God is a good Father who watches over every one of us—much more than he does over these little ones (whom he also remembers). Therefore, our fear of God should not be based on fear of punishment; it should be the fear of someone who does not want to displease his father, a fear nourished by trust in divine providence. 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.