22 June – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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,
‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him
and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero;
my opponents will stumble, mastered,
confounded by their failure;
everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice,
who scrutinise the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord,
praise the Lord,
for he has delivered the soul of the needy
from the hands of evil men.
Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned. Sin existed in the world long before the Law was given. There was no law and so no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’, yet death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even though their sin, unlike that of Adam, was not a matter of breaking a law.
Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. 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.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not be afraid of them. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘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. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.’
Do not be afraid.
I love a good ghost story. When I was younger, I had a large collection of books of them. Some particularly chilling tales would leave me so spooked that I would be afraid of turning the lights off before going to sleep. I mean, who knows what would be lurking in the shadows waiting to appear in the dark? But with this fear that the stories brought out came also the realization of the surety of protection my parents would provide. If anything was to happen, I could count on them for aid and they would do their very best at it too.
Fear is not something we are unaccustomed to. Even as we grow up, we can be afraid. And we ourselves can also be sources of fear. Contending with this emotion is something that we have to do throughout our lives. Today’s first reading and Gospel passage addresses such fear. The disciples and Jeremiah had reasons to be afraid. Jeremiah was having problems with the Temple officials; the disciples were about to be sent out to minister. Yet, in spite of their fears, they were able to continue doing great things. They all realized they fell under the protection of God on whom they could count on for the best aid.
Each of us has his or her own fears. We cannot run away from the fact of it. Fear entered the world with death brought by Adam’s sin. With Christ comes new life and that which conquers death conquers fear as well. So when we are afraid, we can either stay rooted in it or we can pray to be walked through it. My brothers and sisters, who rules our lives? God or fear?
(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
Prayer: We pray for steadfastness in our faith.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for watching over each and every one of us.
23 June, Mon – 2 Kings 17:5-8. 13-15a. 18; Matthew 7:1-5
Vigil of John the Baptist – Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Peter 8-12; Luke 1:5-17
24 June, Tue – Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66. 80 – Soleminity of John the Baptist
25 June, Wed – 2 Kings 22:8-13. 23:1-3; Matthew 7:15-20
26 June, Thu – 2 Kings 24:8-17; Matthew 7:21-29
27 June, Fri – 2 Kings 25:1-12; Matthew 8:1-4
28 June, Sat – Lamentations 2:2. 10-14; Matthew 8:5-17 – Memorial of St Irenaeus
Vigil of Sts Peter and Paul – Acts 3:1-10; Galatians 1:11-20; John 21:15-19
29 June, Sun – Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8. 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19 – Soleminty of Peter and Paul, Apostles
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