21  JUNE 2020: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

by FR. Emmanuel, our pastor

“Do Not Be Afraid!”

My dear Brothers and sisters,  Good Evening.

Do you get anxious or worried about anything at any time in your life? Does any kind of fear make your life at any time less joyful?  If your answer is “yes” then today’s Scripture Readings and the Good News become very relevant and appropriate: Do not be afraid … Do not be worried.  How good it is for someone who is worried about anything in life to hear those words from Jesus.  So many times in the Gospels we hear Jesus asking us not to worry. In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus saying,

  • Do not worry about the future of the kingdom of God because even if the kingdom is hidden and difficult to see now, it will be revealed.
  • “do not be afraid of them…What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light” (Matt 10:26-27)
  • Do not worry about those who would make you martyrs by killing you because even if they kill your body they cannot kill your soul.
  • “do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.” (Matt 10:31-32)

And on many other occasions we hear Jesus asking us not to worry,

…do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All these things the pagans seek.  Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. (Matt 6:31-34)   In Matt 8:24-26 we hear Jesus rebuking the disciples when they were afraid during the storm because their faith is weak, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”

There is a great lesson for us in how Jesus dealt with worry and distress in Gethsemane: He felt great inner pain; he felt his Passion would be too much for him, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.” (Matt 26:38).  He acknowledged this pain before his Father, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me…”  In prayer he found the strength to face his passion and was able to say, “not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 6:39).  That is what happens to us when we have faith in God and bring our anxieties to God in prayer.

In our first reading the prophet Jeremiah also copes with a difficult life situation, his anxiety and fear.   “I hear the whisperings of many: Terror on every side!  Denounce! let us denounce him!”  But he had faith in God and trusted in God despite being in a very difficult situation.  But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. (Jer 20:11) 

In the second reading Paul assures the Christians in Rome that they need not be afraid of opposition because they share in the death of Jesus and his resurrection.  We need not be afraid of those who oppose us, for we are united with Christ in his resurrection.

For a moment let us look into ourselves.  Most of the times fear controls our lives.  It is not often a fear of the present but rather a fear of the future.  What are we afraid of?  May be about today’s situation of the pandemic, or today’s economy, or a fear of loneliness, of ill health, of failures, disappointments, or we may be afraid of suffering, old age, the future of ourselves or of our children.  At the root of these fears is the fear of loss.  I can lose my job, family, house, money, health and even life itself.  Rejection and loss are the basis of our fears.

Have no fear. Jesus gives us some reasons why his disciples should not be frightened.  The first reason is that opponents will not be able to prevent Jesus’ followers from succeeding in their mission because God will expose their evil plans and deeds: “nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered.”   Jesus promises us that God will not permit evil to win over the good.

The second reason not to be afraid is the limited power of our opponents.  They can kill the body, but have no power over the soul.  Only God has power over eternity.   He has sent Christ to provide salvation for all.

The third reason that we should not be afraid is God’s compassionate love. We are more important to God than sparrows.   St. Matthew speaks of two sparrows sold for one penny.  The God who cares for a trivial bird like the sparrow or lilies in the field also cares about our smallest problems – even the hairs on our heads are counted.

When we are afraid of loneliness, think that we are not alone, Jesus is with us;
When we are afraid of ill-health, think that Jesus is the healer;
When we are afraid of  suffering, think that Jesus suffered before us;
When we are afraid of insecurity, think that Jesus is our security;
When we are afraid of death, think that we will resurrect with Jesus.

Every Eucharistic celebration helps us to get rid of all our fears and learn to trust completely in God and to trust in one another.  The Eucharist is a sacrament of unity and courage.  As we receive the Eucharist today let us pray to Jesus, Lord dispel all our fears and free us from all our anxieties and worries and help us to lead a life of full trust in the Lord. 

This Sunday we celebrate Fathers’ Day.  As we wish a very Happy Fathers’ Day to all the fathers, we pray that God bless them to carry out their duties very well and give them a blessed and peaceful life.  We remember our own fathers, we thank them, and pray for them whether alive or dead.  We ask the intercession of St. Joseph, the foster Father of Jesus himself.  Above all we thank God our most loving Father for all the blessings He has showered on each one of us. 

Now let us pray for a special Blessing on all Fathers in Holy Faith Parish:

Priest:   [With the right hand outstretched in blessing:]

Loving God, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, taught us to call you “Father.” Look kindly upon these men standing before us; You have called them to the great vocation of fatherhood.

Bless + them, and help them to be good fathers, loving fathers, gentle fathers, like you, our Father.

May they be respected and cherished by their children and live forever in your kingdom.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(Now let us Applaud the fathers)

May God bless you all! 

Thank you.