“PRAISE THE LORD! FOR HE HAS DELIVERED THE LIFE OF THE NEEDY FROM THE HANDS OF THE EVIL DOERS” (Jer 10:13)

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)

Jer 20:10-13; Ps 69:7-9, 13 and 16, 32-34 (R.v.13c); Rom 5:12-15; Matt 10:26-33

Since Jesus liveth, everything in me will live (4x)
Even dry bone will live, will live (3x)
Since Jesus liveth, everything will live

My dear, the psalmist said that, Many are the trials of just, but the Lord delivers them from them all (Ps 34:19). On daily bases, we encounter many challenges and difficulties that tend to weigh us down despite the fact that we strive so well to be devoted Christians. The liturgy of today considers that and gives us tips on how to be victorious.

The prophet Jeremiah, in the First Reading had to bear a lot of terrible things just for the sake of being a prophet of God. At the beginning of the pericope from which the reading was taken, Jeremiah seems to be blaming God for his misfortunes (cf. Jer 20:7). Well, he might not be blamed for thinking so, after all, it is God that he was working for.

Nonetheless, we could see that even with such thoughts, he never stopped working for God. There must be something that gave him such courage, and he tells us what it is, “The Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me” (Jer 20:11). So, it is the presence of God in his life that strengthens him. He believed that the Lord would never disappoint him. We can now see why he earlier said that happy is the man whose confidence is in the Lord; “He is like a tree planted near water, that thrusts its root towards the stream. It has no fear when the heat comes, its leaves are always green; in the year of drought it has no worries and it always bears fruit” (Jer 17:7-8).

You can see why it is we listen to Jesus as he speaks to us in the Gospel, “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). The fear of God here should not be understood in terms of being afraid. It rather means reverence. Note that the Gospel of Matthew was written to a Jewish community that culturally have deep reverence for the name of God. But this virtue was beginning to fail as a result of persecution. It is from there that we understand the tone of today’s Gospel. In that little pericope – Matt 10:26-33 – Jesus repeated the term, “fear not” three times, thus reassuring his disciples that no shall befall them in him. After all, he did say in John 16:33, “Take courage! I have overcome the world.”

St. Paul reminds us in the Second Reading that by his death on the Cross, Jesus cancelled out the death which the sin of Adam introduced into the world and obtained for us the grace to live above condemnation. As such, we become new creations, the untouchables, who can no longer easily be lured into error by the evil one, nor be subdued into depression, because in Christ, we are more than conquerors (cf. Rom 8:37). We can then say boldly with St. Paul, It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal 2:20). Therefore, I can do all things in him who gives me strength (Phil 4:13).

May the overcoming presence of Christ calm all the troubling storms that affect our lives daily. And may we always recognize his power over all our life situations. Amen.

Peace be with you!

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