June 21: 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm: 69; 2. Romans 5:12-15; Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33.
Today’s readings offer us an insight into the world of faith to which we belong.
In first place, Jeremiah encourages every person of faith to assume a bold and trusting attitude towards the varied and sometimes ominous circumstances of life we all experience. Jeremiah, as a prophet often subjected to violent abuse and rejection, voices what could only be described as complete faith in the Lord being there alongside him throughout his mission. For it is with such confidence that he can willingly face anything untoward ahead of him. A voice like this can but encourage us to turn to the Lord when called upon to express our faith publicly and wholeheartedly.
Paul, speaking to the Romans, reminds the members of the Church that sin has been a persistent phenomenon ever since human history began. But it is with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace he freely bestows that all can set about overcoming sin. Recognising divine grace in abundance therefore helps the believer to conquer the attraction of sin and to promote the good and well-being of our world.
Listening in Matthew to Jesus’ encouraging words spoken to his 12 disciples in anticipation of their mission makes us consider the context in which we strive to profess our faith. The repeated exhortation “be not afraid” is a call to go out into the world and confidently fulfil Jesus’ commission. Therefore, with commitment and solidarity in faith, each of us surely possesses the necessary wherewithal to see our efforts succeed, and so achieve the goal in accord with the heavenly Father’s plan.
In short, the core message of these biblical texts is a fairly simple one. Great things can be achieved for God if we cooperate with grace and, as a consequence, fearlessly profess the faith.