Here in the Gospel of Luke people numbering in the thousands were getting out of hand. In their eagerness to hear Jesus they were stepping over each other. Jesus reminds his disciples not to let the success of their preaching go to their heads like the Pharisees have done. Jesus reminds the disciples that the word used for “preaching” is (Charay). Jesus tells his disciples their preaching should be like a string of pearls. In other words, each word we preach should be like a precious jewel!
Jesus sounds like he is saying that our thoughts and words need to be marshaled carefully. If they are not treated carefully, they will take on the quality of the Pharisees which is “hypocrisy.” What we must do is first of all to” listen.” In other words, in the Gospels “to listen” is to embrace the message of Jesus. First, Jesus is the Son of God. Come and be with him, and second, serve God’s people.
The disciples of Jesus will undergo persecution, but do not fear. Don’t worry about those who can destroy the body. Remember you are precious in the eyes of God. The sparrows are protected by God. They can be purchased for one cent. Five sparrows are worth two cents. Luke tells us each hair on our head is precious in the eye of God. In the time of Jesus, the Rabbis use to say “God loves each one of us.” “Every blade of Grass has its own Guardian Angel!” We are valued because God watches over us. This is only place in the Synoptics that Jesus addresses his disciples as “My friends” don’t worry. God is loyal. The Scriptures reminds us one of the virtues each disciple has is the virtue of “fearlessness!”
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community at Sacred Heart Monastery in Louisville, Kentucky.