August 10, 2013

19th Sunday - C


“ Your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom”

Jesus here urges his “little flock” “Do not be afraid.” 

These are not some sentimental words. 

The deep and significant meaning of these words can better be understood only when taken in context.  Jesus and his disciples are on their journey to Jerusalem, where Jesus would suffer and die.  It is a journey that in 9:51 Jesus “resolutely determined” to begin.  Luke also reminds us often that the disciples do not seem to fully understand either Jesus’ mission or his attitude. 

Knowing his disciples, throughout the journey, Jesus takes time and uses different opportunities to instruct them. 

Earlier in the same Chapter 12, Jesus encouraged the disciples to trust in God in times of persecution.  He said to them, “Even the hairs on your head have all been counted.”  Then, he said to them the same words “Do not be afraid.”  (12:4)

Next came the parable of the rich fool which Jesus taught in response to the man who wanted Jesus to solve his family’s disputes over their inheritance.  (12: 13-21)

Jesus then took the occasion to teach his disciples not to worry about their lives, what to eat, or what to wear.  He pointed out to them that God takes care of even the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field.

“Do not worry anymore,” said Jesus.  And he continues, “You Father knows that you need [those things].” (12: 22-31)

And more than food, clothes, or even life; God, “your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” (12:32)

There, the reason for us not to be afraid.  

Note:  Today's Gospel gives us an opportune moment to reflect on that gift of membership in God's Kingdom, as pointed out by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his letter Porta Fidei on the Year of Faith.

"The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church…. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22)." (Paragraph #1)

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