Anne O’Brien, Director of Mission at St Agnes’ Catholic Parish, reads from the Gospel of Luke (12: 1-7) in which Jesus tells his followers to be on guard against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and that God’s love is great.
In this Gospel, Anne says, Jesus uses sparrows to show just how much God loves us. In his day there were so many sparrows that they could be sold in the market for almost nothing. In our time numbers have fallen dramatically. There is little meat on these small birds, but it didn’t matter. There were so many, and they would increase and multiply for ever – or so it seemed. That’s why Jesus in telling this story could say that even if the smallest sparrow was known to God – there was, and is, no such thing as an inconsequential person. A pretty powerful message!
God doesn’t forget us, but it’s very easy for us to forget others, especially people who are vulnerable, or unpleasant, or whose habits drive others away. Yet these can be the very individuals who are crying out for recognition and love. They might be the sparrows we miss, but God remembers.
Anne says, we can’t always identify the people who are most in need of love. She suggests we look at the people close to us… the person sitting next to me, our colleagues, our friends, family members, those who we haven’t spoken to for some time (life gets busy) … maybe a simple smile, a greeting, a phone call, making time for a catch up could be a good way to transform someone’s day.
In closing, Anne invites to pray:
Loving Lord, help me to remember that there is no one who is invisible to you. Help me to look for the human sparrows and to take care of them. Amen.