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Courage under persecution

Gospel Reading: Lk 12:1-7
At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven – that is, the hypocrisy – of the Pharisees. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus turns his attention to his disciples, as they deal with the huge crowds pressing around them. People are almost trampling one another underfoot. Their press raises an issue that becomes a temptation to the disciples: hypocrisy.

An effort to maintain popularity easily leads to hypocrisy. Jesus warns them not to follow the Pharisees’ example that he calls their “leaven.” Leaven refers to their teaching and its hypocrisy, which can permeate a community like the substance people put in bread. To enhance the warning, Jesus emphasizes that everything will be disclosed before God in the coming day of judgment (cf Rom 2:15-16; 1 Cor 4:5), when our lives will be evaluated. Nothing will be concealed. The reference to “closed doors” (v 3) describes the innermost location in the house. God’s omniscience penetrates every locale and every thought. Even what is whispered will be known. On that coming day, disciples will have their stewardship of God’s gifts and opportunities examined, and they will be rewarded accordingly (cf 1 Cor 3:10-17), though forgiveness and eternal life come only through drawing on the forgiveness Christ provides. Those who do not know the Lord will have their actions condemned (cf Rv 20:11-15; 21:27; 22:15).

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed” (Lk 12:2).

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