Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:28-31)
God’s care for sparrows calls us to trust in God, since Matthew states here and in chapter 7 that humans have more value than birds. Sparrows were among the cheapest birds sold in the markets of Matthew’s time. Unfortunately, such biblical passages have been used to devalue God’s creation, as if humans are the only creatures to receive divine blessing. Here Matthew states that God does indeed care for the sparrow.
Prayer from St. Francis of Assisi
Most high, all-powerful, good Lord,
yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no one is worthy to mention your name.
Praised be you, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with colorful flowers and herbs.
Praised be you, my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be you, my Lord, through our sister bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Blessed are those whom death will find in your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give him thanks and serve him with great humility.
[Francis of Assisi, Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, ed. Regis J. Armstrong OFM CAP and Ignatius C. Brady OFM (NY: Paulist, 1982), 38-39.]
Today’s devotion is adapted from the website www.sundaysandseasons.com; our church is a paid member.