12th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Pulpit Plan

Theme                         :           “Be not afraid!”

1st Reading                  :           Jeremiah 20:10-13

Responsorial Psalm      :           Ps 69

2nd Reading                  :           Romans 5:12-15

Gospel                         :           Matthew 10:26-33


  • It would seem that any joy that may have still been with us after Easter, Pentecost and the other special feasts of the last few Sundays, have been blown away by today’s readings!
  • The tone is set in the first reading, taken from the Prophet Jeremiah!
    • The prophet is clearly very upset – to put it mildly – by the work God has called him to do!
    • He goes into great detail about the opposition he faces – the crowd want to lynch him – and how ill-prepared and afraid he feels!
    • He is so desperate that he even blames God for his situation!
  • As we listen to Jeremiah’s woes, we immediately identify with him (well to some extent at least – surely no one wants to lynch us??!)
    • Life is tough
    • Our Christian discipleship is tough
      • And the promise of new life; the promise of the Holy Spirit – all seem so small and rather empty in the face of the challenges we face!
    • As T.S. Eliot said; “The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of many letters, distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, industrial lords and petty contractors…all go into the dark.”
      • No matter who we are, no matter our wealth, our education, our resources, our position…we all face opposition, challenges, disappointments, rejection, loneliness and fear!
    • Where is the hope, the trust, the faith, the joy of Easter; of Pentecost; of Trinity Sunday?!
    • But the reality is, those feasts do not speak of Jesus Christ promising us that this world will be transformed into a world of goodness and love and acceptance.
      • Instead, the central teaching of Christ is about a God who loves us and who saves us
    • We Catholic Christians must seek to transform this less than perfect and often hurting world – and we must continue to seek this!
      • We do not put our hopes in this world;
      • We do not put our hope and trust in our own abilities, skills or strengths
        • but in the strength of God!
      • I am aware, this that idea scares people today!
      • I suppose that for so many people who have lost any belief in God and hope in the world to come;
        • they have had to put their faith, their trust, in the material things of the world and NOT in the strength of God!
        • People have focused on the material and have neglected the soul!!
          • Sometimes it seems that our world has lost its soul
            • That is the reason for the fear!
          • But, three times during the Missionary Discourse of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said to his apostles; “do not be afraid”!
          • These words apply to us too!
            • We do not need to be afraid of anything;
              • The loss of property, reputation, money, clothes or anything!!
            • The only thing that should make us fear is the loss or destruction of our soul!
            • The recent feasts of Easter, Pentecost and the Holy Trinity are not meant to make us feel good!
              • They are not meant to anaesthetise us to the challenges of our world!
            • They are meant to help us recall our faith and recommit to that faith!
            • They are meant to help us recognise the strength and love of God in our world!
            • They are meant to help us identify the meaning of our lives and recapture our passion to live for Jesus and his Church!
            • So, as the alleluia’s fade and the Easter eggs are swallowed up –
              • we are challenged by today’s readings to look into our own lives – warts and all – and ask ourselves:
                • Do we trust God?
                • Do we trust that he is with us in every trial and difficulty?
                • Are we able to live for our beliefs?
                • Are we willing to speak out, even when our beliefs go against the accepted understanding of modern culture?
              • Jesus invites us to a life that is truly strong and to a life that is – very often – the Cross!
              • As we resume the Sundays of Ordinary Time, we commit to walking forward with faith through every situation of our lives – just like Jeremiah did
              • We commit to this, while striving to live, with meaning and joy but most of all trust in the strength of God, our discipleship of Jesus!
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