12th Sunday of the Year 25th June 2023
There is an old folk tale among the Mic-Mac Indians in Eastern Canada that in late summer a snake sheds his old skin and a new one takes its place. It is believed that, during this time, the snake remains immobile and blind. At the slightest movement near it, the snake strikes out in its blindness, directing its attack by the sense of sound. If some object touches its body, the snake, in its panic, strikes the spot that has been touched, releasing into its own body the deadly poison carried in its fangs. The result is death. In its fear and panic, in its not knowing, in its inability to see, the snake destroys itself.
This old folk tale is an apt metaphor for our own fears of change, our own struggles to make sense of a constantly evolving world. Too often, we allow our fears to slowly kill our hope, our enthusiasm, and our spirit. We desperately fear and strike out at whatever we don’t understand, at whatever seems to overturn the life we have grown comfortable with, at whatever threatens the vision of the world we have concocted that enables us to make some sense of life. We become the servants of our fears rather than the masters of our lives: the threat of disaster always manages to push aside the possibility for goodness, joy, justice and reconciliation. Three times in today’s Gospel, however, Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid, that we have nothing to fear before God who has proven his love for us reservedly.
In God’s eyes, we are more than just ‘dots’ milling about – every one of us is a child of God and a brother and sister to every other “dot.” That understanding compels us to become vehicles of God’s love in the lives of those desperate for that presence, to become the means of reconciliation and justice for those deprived of that peace. May our hearts embrace God’s spirit of love for every human being who, in the heart of God, “is worth so much more than many sparrows.”
Christ calls us to embrace a vision of hope that is the opposite of fear -hope that overcomes our uncertainty of the unknown with the certainty of God’s love, hope that transforms the Good Fridays of our lives into Easter resurrection.