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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
1st Reading (Jer 20:10-13): Jeremiah said: «I hear the whisperings of many: ‘Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!’. All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. ‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him’.

»But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!».
Responsorial Psalm: 68
R/. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my children, because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.

I pray to you, o Lord, for the time of your favor, o God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. Answer me, o Lord, for bounteous is your kindness; in your great mercy turn toward me.

«See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the Lord hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not. Let the heavens and the earth praise him, the seas and whatever moves in them!
2nd Reading (Rom 5:12-15): Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned, for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come. But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:26b.27a): Alleluia. The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord; and you also will testify. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 10:26-33): Jesus said to the Twelve: "Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body”

Fr. Antoni POU OSB Monk of Montserrat (Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, after choosing the twelve, Jesus sends them to preach and instructs them. He warns them about the persecution they may likely suffer and advises them on their attitude: “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” (Mt 10,28). The narrative of this Sunday develops the theme of persecution in a style reminiscent of the last Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5,11).

Jesus' speech is paradoxical: on the one hand, he tells us “Do not be afraid”, and he presents us with a providential Father who cares even for sparrows; on the other hand, he does not tell us that this Father will save us from troubles, rather the opposite: if we are his followers, we are likely to share his fate and that of the other prophets. So, how can we understand this? God's protection is his ability to give life to our person (our soul), and to provide happiness even in tribulations and persecutions. He is the one who can give us the joy of His Kingdom —which we can already enjoy here— and is our hope of eternal life: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father” (Mt 10,32).

Trusting that God will be with us in difficult times gives us courage to speak Jesus' words in the light (cf Mt 10:27); moreover, it gives us the energy we need to do good, so that through our works people can give glory to our heavenly Father. Accordingly, Saint Anselm teaches us: “Do everything for God and for that happy and eternal life our Savior deigns to grant us in Heaven.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written… What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!" (Saint John Chrysostom)

  • " There is no Christian mission marked by tranquility! Difficulties and tribulations are part of the work of evangelization and we are called to find in them the opportunity to test the authenticity of our faith and of our relationship with Jesus" (Francis)

  • “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it… Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1816)