WelCom June/July 2023
Twelfth Sunday of the year – Matthew 10:26-33
26 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. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
28 ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear those rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29 Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. 30 Why, every hair on your head has been counted. 31 So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
32 ‘So those who declare themselves for me in the presence of others, I will declare myself for them in the presence of my Father in heaven. 33 But the one who disowns me in the presence of others, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
Commentary on Matthew 10:26-33
Fr Alan Roberts
I consider this gospel text relevant to those interested in renewal, particularly in regard to parish or Church.
Renewal implies change and we must never forget that. So first of all I must ask how do I cope with change? Do I want to change, or, do I even believe that change might be necessary?
In each of the three paragraphs of the text above we find much wisdom in this regard. So note what Jesus teaches:
Do not be afraid! If you are really serious about renewal, let go of fear, open up to the Spirit and be prepared to be guided. Imagine if a parish leadership team followed this pattern. Imagine if you followed this pattern. Prayer is implied in this paragraph, the quiet prayer of listening though. God’s pathway ahead you will find in your heart and in gently listening to one another. Then, when all is clear you will have something to say to others. That is what you proclaim from the rooftops!
Trust. This is what you need when you meet the critics. In our country, persecution comes in very subtle ways: people who just don’t want to know, or don’t want to make any change. You are not likely to end up in prison for your beliefs, but you might lose a few friends. Lack of vision in our congregations will do far more damage than a military power coming in!
Own what you believe! You have to be convinced when proclaiming the gospel. The conviction will grow out of your prayer and sharing with others. Look for the signs of hope. This will help when you observe those who are just walking away. Don’t be afraid of questions such as: what is happening to our Church? Will our parish see another generation? When we consider these questions we realise the wisdom of what Jesus advises in the text above. Remember though, this is God’s work. Even two or three faithful disciples can bring about the desired renewal. The change needed may be in me first of all!
Alan Roberts is currently parish priest of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Stratford. He is on loan from the Archdiocese of Wellington and Pukekaraka Parish in Ōtaki.