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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35 (14c)
Romans 5:12-15
Matthew 10:26-33
June 21, 2020

Jesus said to the Twelve, “Fear no one.

Fear can be a powerful thing.  Often, we might seek the approval of those who we hold in high regard.  We fear rejection.  We might seek affirmation of our work.  We might seek agreement with what we say.  Again, we fear being rejected for our work and/or our beliefs.

Do we let that fear cripple us from acting?  Do we keep quiet out of fear of rejection?

Jesus told his disciples, “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light, what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”  All of us are called to share what we have received from Jesus.  The gospel is meant for all.

The problem is that not everyone wants to hear God’s Truth.  They reject our attempts to talk about Jesus.  We see this today and we hear from the psalmist, “For your sake I bear insult…I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my children.” 

This can be discouraging.  Our goal is not to make ourselves outcasts or strangers.  Our goal is to share our faith.  This begins with us embracing our own faith such that zeal for God’s house consumes us.  We seek the Holy Spirit to give us this zeal that creates an irresistible enthusiasm within us for our faith.

We might face rejection but if we are speaking God’s Truth, we are not actually the ones being rejected.  They are rejecting God’s message.

The prophet Jeremiah personally experienced this as those who had been his friends denounced him and watched “for any misstep” he would make to trap him. 

Why did they want to denounce him?  Because they didn’t like what he was saying.  He was telling them how God was calling them to live.  If they listened, they would have to change their lifestyles.  They didn’t want to. 

If you read the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, they do not argue against what he was saying.  They couldn’t prove him wrong (because he wasn’t). 

So, they sought to denounce him.  They wanted to trap him doing something that went against what he taught so they could discredit him.  They actually plot to kill him.

Of course, they do not succeed.  Jeremiah laments their persecution but he understands that the LORD is with him and it is the Lord who will win.

Prophets are not meant to be popular.  They are meant to be messengers of God’s Truth.  It is sad that God’s Truth isn’t always popular but we must not let that discourage us from sharing our faith.

Today we celebrate Father’s Day.  Fathers want to be liked by their children.  However, being liked by their children is not what fathers are for.  Fathers are called to raise their children to be good people.  They need to teach their children how to be good.  The children might not like it when they are little but hopefully they come to appreciate as adults what their fathers did for them.

Then, the children in turn help the world become better.  As Christians, we work for the building up of the Kingdom of God.

In addition to being Father’s Day, it’s that time of year when we celebrate graduations.  The Coronavirus turned the school year upside down but it did not stop the school year and it cannot stop graduations.  It may stop the traditional celebrations.  It might cause drastic changes but it does not change what has been accomplished.

Now, the graduates prepare to move to the next stage of life.  Some will continue for further education.  Others will begin their careers.  We pray that as they go out into the world, they take Christ with them. 

We all need to live our faith.  We need to practice what we believe. 

Nobody says it will be easy. 

What does Jesus say?  “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” 

Yes, we may be rejected for our beliefs.  We might even be persecuted but it is only in this lifetime.  On the other hand, if we reject God, the consequences are for eternity.

In his lament, Jeremiah asked the Lord, “let me witness the vengeance you take on them.”  This is always a tough passage for me.  I don’t want anyone to suffer vengeance.  What I hope for is repentance.  It is their choice.  All I can do, all any of us can do is be who God calls us to be and leave the rest to God.

It is your choice to acknowledge Jesus by living what He teaches or to deny Jesus’ way in favor of worldly things.  Just know that how we spend eternity depends on whether or not we strive to follow Jesus. 

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