12TH SUNDAY HOMILY IN THE ORDINARY TIME – YEAR A
HOMILY Theme: “Have no fear, for nothing is covered that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. “(Matthew 10:26).
By: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
Homily for Sunday.
Red-faced, guilty, I stood in the light of the arched entryway as the surging blue strobes of the police car alerted the world to my wrongdoing. I could only throw myself on the mercy of the officer, hoping he’d not only believe my story but even find humor in it. I’d purposely waited until after dark to make my assault on the building, hoping that the cover of night would allow me to get away with it. But I was wrong.
It was the last week of my junior year at Stonehill College and, as was the custom at the end of each academic semester, the college library encouraged the return of long overdue books by sponsoring an amnesty day, allowing anyone with overdue materials to return them, no fine levied, no questions asked. An English major with multiple research papers due, my desk was piled high with books I’d used for the semester’s courses: Shakespeare, Metaphysical Poetry, American Drama. Learning from three years’ experience, I’d come to count on the library amnesty day to return books I was still using well beyond the stamped return date inside the back cover. Further, I didn’t want to face the wrath of Alice, the gray-haired troll who presided over the main library desk and who knew me by name. No one’s glare could raise goose bumps on my arms as quickly as could Alice’s.
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Then the graced day arrived in the middle of the last week of classes before final exams. While the braver students (or those less informed) dumped their piles of books on the library counter, right under the wrathful gaze of Alice, I’d planned a more strategic return. At night, after the library had closed but before the midnight amnesty ended, I would steal up to the night depository slot and return my overdue burden, no human eyes witness to the deed.
Patiently waiting until library closing time, I slinked up the steps to the book return depository, my stomach knotting when I witnessed that the narrow slot had regurgitated, books asunder on the pavement below the opening. Not to be undone by this inconvenience, the solution was simple. Reaching deep into the depository, I began removing books, thinking to replace them with my own, proof that I’d returned them long before those who’d simply piled theirs on the library porch. It was a simple enough procedure until, with the removal of the two books remaining, I got stuck, the jaws of the depository closing on my left arm thrust deep down its throat.
The struggle was brief. The blue strobe lights of campus security had pulled up to the library. Even from his car the officer seemed to surmise what was going on, my antics, apparently, a frequent end-of-semester occurrence. Without a word, he unlocked the library, removed the jammed books that held me captive then, re-locking the door, bid me a pleasant evening.
Caught red-handed; guilty; spotlighted! I suppose most of us have known what that shameful moment feels like, trying to get away with something, sure of our stealth, then to be discovered. Hopefully, we’ve also experienced mercy once our deeds have been brought into the light.
It’s this experience that Jesus addresses in today’s gospel passage. In preparing his disciples for the challenge of the Christian life, Jesus assures them, “Have no fear, for nothing is covered that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.” (Matthew 10:26) Have no fear for God’s care stretches beyond any human experience that discourages us, entraps us, or even robs us of life. God’s watchful love overshadows every threat to our earthly lives, though it may seem at times that God is inattentive or his love even absent. “Do not be afraid!” He promises, “I am with you, and I will save you.”
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