Trusting in the Father, Whose Eye is on the Sparrow

“Do not be afraid” is the theme of all the Mass readings today. Jesus calls us to trust in the Father, who knows the number of hairs on your scalp and sees the sparrows fall from the sky. Ethel Waters, the great American blues singer and actress, popularized the hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by Civilla Martin and Charles Gabrielle, which she sang for 20 years for the Billy Graham Crusades.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.1

Heavenly Liturgy

In the first reading from Isaiah, the prophet is caught up into the heavenly liturgy while in the temple. After seeing the LORD of hosts sitting on a high and lofty throne, hearing the seraphim singing “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of host!” Isaiah responded with despair fearing death because he, a sinful man, had seen the Holy God. In a “do not be afraid” gesture, God sent one of the seraphim with an ember taken from the altar and touched the prophet’s lips, saying “Your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” Now he was ready to enthusiastically respond, “Here I am, send me!” when the voice of the LORD cried out “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”

A Bridge

The responsorial Psalm 93 is a bridge to the gospel reading. “The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty. Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed.” In Mathew 12, after praying for laborers for the plentiful harvest, Jesus called twelve apostles by name, gave them authority to cast out unclean spirits and to heal every disease and infirmity. He then gave them their mission to the house of Israel, preaching that ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He warned them of the persecutions they would receive just as their master and teacher did.

Three times in today’s gospel reading he used the phrase “do not be afraid.” They may face physical death, but if they faithfully preached the gospel, God the Father would acknowledge them in heaven. The Father who counts the hairs of their head and knows when the sparrows die knows their every need.

Always Rejoice!

Echoing Jesus’ message today, St. Paul tell us in Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

What does rejoicing in the Lord sound like? It sounds like Ethel Waters singing:

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.2

For reflection: What is keeping you from trusting God? He created you for happiness. Jesus Christ died to reconcile us to the Father. At each Mass He gives us his Body and Blood to nourish us. To paraphrase the poet, singer Bob Dylan:

In the fury of the moment,

(can’t you) see the Master’s hand,

in every leaf that trembles,

in every grain of sand? 3

Try stepping out in faith and say “Jesus, I trust you.” Let him touch you and heal you!

1 “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by Civilla Martin and Charles Gabrielle

2 Ibid.

3. “Every Grain of Sand” by Bob Dylan

[Readings: IS 6:1-8; MT 10:24-33]

Dr. David Cooper

Dr. David Cooper OP Dr. David Cooper OP converted to Catholicism 16 years ago and became a life promised Lay Dominican 8 years ago. He is grateful for 50 years of marriage, two daughters and 5 grandchildren. He is a retired rehab doctor with a passion for medical missions, having served in Thailand, India, Cameroon and Honduras. His current mission field is in the Texas state prison system where he is active in the Kolbe Prison Ministries. He also mentors men who are in Lay Dominican formation. [email protected]


  1. Jerry DeMelo on July 9, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Always insightful. Thank you Dave.

  2. Steve Wee on July 9, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Thank you once again for the insights you are blessed with because of you openness to God and the Gospel.

Leave a Comment