Homily Twelfth Sunday Year A Do not be afraid

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Homily Twelfth Sunday Year A

Reading 1: The prophet Jeremiah, because he has spoken the word of God to the Chosen People who had been unfaithful to God, is persecuted by them. The word he spoke from God was something they did not want to receive or accept. God told them that a time of chastisement is coming, in which they would be taken into exile by their enemies. They were not to resist, but to surrender to the will of God.

Though Jeremiah didn’t expect the strong negative response against him, he knew that this word came from God and needed to be said. In the midst of the persecution, where did Jeremiah find his comfort? He knew the Lord was the one who called him and gave him the words to say. He knew that the Lord was with him in spite of his difficulties.

Instead of running away and hiding, Jeremiah trust himself to the Lord. Even when he does, he is still imperfect. He wants to see the vengeance God will bring upon his enemies. In the Gospel, Jesus shows us the perfect way, namely forgiveness.

Gospel: Jesus begins by telling the twelve and us: Do not be afraid of what people may do and do not be ashamed to proclaim the good news of God, his mercy. Do not be afraid because of the possibility or reality of persecution, even death. God is with us and will care for us.

What are we to witness in the midst of difficulties? We are to proclaim the love of God, his providence and his great mercy. We are to stand firm because God is with us thought the storms of others’ anger rage around us.

In Baptism, we were sealed with the oil of Chrism and told that we now share in the life of Christ as priest, prophet and king. In Confirmation we were again anointed by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of God’s love and mercy to us and to others. When we came into the awareness and own the reality that God has loved and saved us through his death and resurrection and shared his life with us, then this revelation needs to be publicly proclaimed.

If we act on that call and acknowledge what God has and is doing, Jesus promises to acknowledge us before his Father. What does that mean? We will be with God forever. But if we do not acknowledge him by silence or out of fear of what people may do in response, Jesus will not acknowledge us before his Father. What does that mean? Eternal alienation from God. If we deny him, he will deny us. Wow!

To reject Jesus is to reject the grace that he gives us. To ignore or reject what he has commanded us to do in response to what he has done for us, is to be ungrateful and thus unworthy of eternal life with him.

Reading 2: Paul acknowledges two realities: 1) that of sin and death and 2) that of God’s grace and mercy. Sin is part of the life of each of us. We have all sinned many times over, even after experiencing God’s mercy. But unmerited grace is the remedy to sin. God’s forgives those who repent of their sins and turn back to God. This grace comes from the death and resurrection of Jesus. We don’t earn it. All we can do is receive it, like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable. He recognized his sin and turned to the mercy of God, which he experienced.

What lessons do we take from today’s scriptures? What response should we give to the Word of God?

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