Twelfth Sunday of the Year
Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33 (Year A)
We live in troubled times. Outrages committed by the few in the name of religion have cast a dark shadow over the many who conscientiously seek to live lives of faith. There will be those who will seize the opportunity to dismiss the voice of faith completely from the public forum.
We can sympathise with the prophet Jeremiah, who, facing the difficulties of his own generation, encountered insult and derision: “I hear so many disparaging me, ‘Terror from every side! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall.”
Jeremiah refused to desist from his condemnation of a corrupt regime. Despite rejection, he continued to proclaim a God whose salvation would bring healing to a broken society. “The poor, when they see it, will be glad, and God-seeking hearts will revive; for the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains.”
As we are human, the temptation in troubled times is to hide our faith away. Anticipating the rejection that his Gospel would generate, Jesus called the Twelve to an open and fearless declaration of his truth: “So, if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.”
Over many days we have seen an outstanding witness to the Gospel and its values in the immediate response of so many faith communities to recent events. Far from retreating from the public debate, we should not hesitate to proclaim our faith in a Gospel of healing and forgiveness.
St Paul spoke of a world destroyed by the sin that had brought the power of death into the human heart. His words are a commentary on the tragedy of so many recent events.
The darkness of these days must never silence the hope that is in our hearts. “If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift.”
Let us not be afraid to name the evil that brings death and, with equal conviction, proclaim the Gospel that brings life. Jesus did not anticipate an uneasy silence.
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