Jesus said to the twelve, ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 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 unperceived by 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.
‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.’
Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus modelled what it means to be open and honest. Jesus was true to his calling for every moment of his human incarnation. As Jesus spoke God’s truth he found himself repeatedly coming into conflict with the religious authorities, but he was not deterred, he carried on proclaiming God’s truth. Jesus also showed us the value of an open and honest prayerful relationship with his, and our, heavenly Father.
Sadly, we struggle to emulate Jesus’ honesty in our everyday lives. We are reluctant to be fully open and honest with any of the different communities with which we engage. We are not even fully open and honest with ourselves. We may not be intentionally dishonest, but we like to gloss over the embarrassing, the inconvenient and the challenging … and we are similarly evasive with ourselves. Some of the saddest accounts of human self-destruction can be traced back to the creation of layer upon layer of dishonesty and self-delusion. The words I have chosen from today’s reading should be seen as an encouragement rather than an admonition. Jesus urges us to live a life of honest faith in God because God can never be deceived. Before God: nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
There are very few who respond to the calling to a life in public service who set out with anything other than the most honourable of intentions. But, for many, those honourable intentions crumble as the path of secrecy and deception becomes more attractive than the path of openness and honesty. Eventually, self-interest and self-obsession is exposed and that which was honourable and good is swept aside.
God calls us to trust him with our innermost secrets and confidences, because they are known to him anyway. God wants our true selves to be celebrated, because it those true selves that reflect the God in whose image we were created. Anything less diminishes God and distances us from him.
Let us pray for the courage and the strength to take our whole selves to God, confident in the love and grace he pours into our lives. Let us pray that we might ever rejoice in the individuality God has bestowed upon us.