25 June 2017
Jeremiah said: 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 instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not be afraid. 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.’
“So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.”
Especially in today’s world, what many of us need as individuals is COURAGE. Courage to face the truth and courage to speak the truth. We find ourselves lacking in it because we don’t want to rock the boat, because our job/income is more important than what we are actually doing, or because we simply just want to fit in.
As the Gospel says, “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.”
Indeed, the Gospel today brings us to reflect on the purpose of our lives, our identity. If our identity is in the world, then what the world says does matter to us and we will fear and succumb to the pressures of society. But if our identity is in Christ, then we know that, as in the first reading, “Yahweh is at my side like a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, vanquished, confounded by their failure…”, we do not need to fear.
Of course this is easier said than done. But we also read of “everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear”. I can testify to this because if we live a life in Christ, we live a life of love and love simply never fails. Over time, one doesn’t just see what we do or say but sees the heart; because at the end of the day, it is the intention that matters. It is that peace, freedom and joy that we gain by trusting in God and in ourselves, in who He has created us to be and I truly believe this is what we all actually desire and live for.
As Catholics, we feel that our ultimate goal is to know who God is, but the beauty is that in our seeking, we also find who we are. And when we say we love God, God asks us to love everyone around us. This is the God we worship — selfless, who loves us unconditionally, who takes away the sins of the world and desires to give us life to the fullest. Let us declare and proclaim that He is our God, our life, our everything. Amen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Lord, we want to pray for courage. Courage to stay true to our faith and to ourselves. That we may never succumb to the pressures of the world. That we may live a life of love, to bring hope, joy, peace and love to all. That we will continue to worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for continuously reaching out to us, for affirming us of your presence. Thank you for the gift of your grace, through your son, that has won for us our salvation. Amen.