Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Year “A” 21 June 2020
“Hope in God and Not the World”
“Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will in turn disown him before my Father in heaven.” Mt. 10:32-3
In today’s Readings, we are given the message of hope. Despite whatever may be against us, we always have the hope that God will be with us: “Therefore, do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Mt. 10:31 These words, “do not be afraid” were continually on the lips of Our Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II during many of his visits throughout the world. Certainly, in these dark days, they should be a great comfort to us all. We have no reason to be afraid as God is always with us as today’s readings point out to us.
Jeremiah’s enemies will be overcome
In the First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah has been persecuted for preaching the truth. He sees that the Israelites are wrong for turning to the Egyptians for help against the Babylonians. He knows that no good will come from it except to antagonize the Babylonians. He also knows that the oppression from the Babylonians is a just punishment from God for Israel’s infidelity. Eventually, the Jews got their way with Jeremiah who was killed when he was brought to Egypt, and the Jews were persecuted more severely, as Jeremiah prophesied, when the Babylonians brought them into exile in Babylon for seventy years. Jeremiah had prayed for vengeance against his enemies, his own people: “Let me see I beseech thee, thy vengeance on them, for to thee I have laid open my cause.” Jer. 20:12.
“…the grace of God, and the gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded unto many.” Rom. 5: 15
St. Paul tells us that the main reason why we can be hopeful is because of the grace of Jesus Christ. Christ has conquered death and sin: “For if by the offence of the one many died, much more has the grace of God, and the gift in the grace of the one man Jesus Christ abounded unto many.” Rom. 5:15 We have all participated in Adam’s sin because he was the first man, but Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death. This is one of the great messages of St. Paul: “But where the offence (sin) has abounded, grace has abounded yet more.” Rom. 5:20 We should be always hopeful as nothing is as powerful as the grace which we have received from Jesus Christ.
“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Mt. 10:28
We need not fear anyone in this life. They may kill our bodies, but they cannot destroy our souls. Jesus tells us only to fear those who can destroy our soul in hell: “But rather, be afraid of him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mt. 10:28 Our souls can only be destroyed by mortal sin! We commit mortal sin when we disobey God’s commandments in serious matters, with sufficient reflection and full consent of our will. How many people today are living in sin by not obeying the marriage laws of the Church, by not keeping the Sabbath holy, by abusing alcohol and drugs, by aborting and contracepting the children whom God wishes to give them, by scandalizing and corrupting the innocent, and by so many violations of charity to their neighbour. We need to remind others of these grave crimes.
“Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Mt. 10:32
We acknowledge God before men by our good example in keeping the commandments and speaking out against those who disobey God’s commandments. We have Jesus’ solemn promise that if we acknowledge God before men, that he will acknowledge us before His Father when we come to Him for judgment. Jesus also promised us that all that we do will be revealed. This includes the good and the bad: “For there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed , and nothing hidden that will not be made known.” Mt. 10:26. Everything that we do, whether good or bad, will be revealed. If we do good, then we will be honoured by God before all men for all eternity: “But they that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that instruct many to justice (shall shine) as stars for all eternity.” Dan. 12:3 Conversely, all the evil we do, even if it is never revealed in this life, will be revealed and cause us reproach and shame for all eternity: “And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and perpetual shame which shall never be forgotten.” Jer. 23:40
“Behold I set forth in your sight this day a blessing and a curse: a blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day; a curse if you obey not the commandments of the Lord your God.” Dt.11:26-8
A few weeks ago, we read that we had a choice in life. Either we obey the commandments and will be blessed, or we go our own way and disobey the commands and receive a curse. If we obey God’s commandments, then we need not be afraid as we will be blessed in this life and in eternity. We will then have nothing to fear in this life and eternity as Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and will reward us with eternal happiness: “Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many; enter into the joy of thy master.” Mt. 25:23