A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A student should be content to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If the head of the household has been called Beelzebul, how much more, those of his household! So, do not be afraid of them!
There is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. There is nothing hidden that will not be made known. What I am telling you in the dark, you must speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but have no power to kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. For a few cents you can buy two sparrows. Yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. Do not be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows!
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Whoever rejects me before others, I will reject before my Father in heaven.
Fear plays a great part in our lives. We fear so many things (most of which will never happen!) such as accidents, the death of a loved one, sickness, theft, rumors against our reputation, unemployment, marriage break-up, old age, bankruptcy, failures, being late, missing a favorite TV program, losing a pet, making a bad impression, wearing the wrong clothes, flunking an exam, having pimples, etc. The list is endless. Yet, what is the worst thing that can happen to us?
In the opinion of most people, that would be the fact of dying, the supreme calamity in human terms. But, as we see from today’s gospel reading, Jesus disagrees. Referring to the dangers of persecution, he says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body.”
For the true believer, death is not a calamity, since it is not to be feared. In fact, death is seen by faith as a going home after a long period of exile. The only thing to fear, Jesus tells us, is to turn away from the direction homeward by sinning against God and thus exposing ourselves to lose God forever. But this will not happen if we always give him top priority in our lives.
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