Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not be afraid. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.
What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
The Gospel heard on Sunday, the 12th Sunday of the year, sets against each other two approaches to human life; ‘mere bodily life’ and ‘life of the soul’.
The latter does not exist independent of the body, but is more than just that. And that more is found especially in a relationship of trust and faith in the Father, and Jesus, who love and are for us, and who are our assurance that despite anything that might happen to the body, we are safe and secure in God.
This knowledge itself frees us from fear and for more adventerous, generous, godly life here. We can live in the now, without the dread that ‘this’ might very soon come to an end and us with it. We can live the promised eternal life even now.
Chapel to Martyrs of 1792, St Germain des Pres, Paris. (c) 2011, Allen Morris.