for the twelfth Sunday of the Year
Jer 20:10-13 - Rm 5:12-15 - Mt 10:26-33
by Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
The triumph of God
Jer 20:10, I hear the defaming of many. Terror is on every side! "Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. "Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our revenge on him." 11, But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12, O Lord of hosts, who triest the righteous, who seest the heart and the mind, let me see thy vengeance upon them, for to thee have I committed my cause. 13, Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
We are at the end of the seventh century before our era, shortly before the first deportation of the People of God to Babylon, and the Prophet Jeremiah is combatting the false prophets of his time. For, under the influence of King Jehoiakim, the Jewish People almost everywhere abandoned the worship of the true God, scoffing at divine law and trampling it underfoot. To fulfill his mission as a true Prophet of the Most High, Jeremiah must therefore make great efforts to try to return the king and the people to goodness, announcing to them terrible punishments that would befall them.
So we understand the words of the Prophet: "I hear the defaming of many..." (Jer 20:10) But Jeremiah puts his trust in the Lord, who is Almighty and who always triumphs over evil, defending his friends, all those who have faith in Him! "The Lord is with me as a dread warrior!" (Jer 20:11) Let us imitate the Prophet, trusting in the Omnipotence of God! Moreover, we should do even better than Jeremiah. Indeed, two thousand years ago, did not the Holy Spirit, who is the "Power from on high" (Lk 24:49), come down to earth on the day of Pentecost?
Rm 5:12, As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned -- 13, sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14, Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15, But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
In his epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul tries to make us understand how great is the power of the grace of God, comparing the reach of this same grace to the universal reach of the terrible consequence of original sin: death. A single man, Adam, sinned, and all men die. On the wood of the Cross, a single man, Jesus Christ, obeyed God, and all men were redeemed for the sake of their eternal life. God, in Jesus Christ, the Great, Unique Prophet of the Most High, triumphed over sin and death. "Death is swallowed up in victory." (Is 25:8; 1 Cor 15:55)
Like the Prophet Jeremiah, and even more so than him, all those who believe in Christ and who, by their trust in and obedience to the Law of God, are but a single Body with the Savior of men, all these will triumph over death and, by the grace of God, will be saved in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, He upon whom rests the Holy Spirit! Let us trust in God! God loves us and wants to save us! God placed in us his Image, and this Image ceaselessly calls us to turn to God, and this same Image ceaselessly calls the Word of God to come into us to communicate to us his Omnipotence!
Mt 10:26, [Jesus said to his disciples]: «So have no fear of men; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27, What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. 30, But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31, Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32, So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.»
The life of the Christian faithful is not an easy life. Jesus did not come to earth to make men happy during their life here below. All men and women suffer during their life. Saint Paul said so during this Sunday's second reading: "Death spread to all men because all men sinned..." (Rm 10:12) Now, the things that normally lead to death are sickness, accidents, and crimes of all kinds. So if we suffer during our life on earth, would it not be due to our sins?
Even if we think of ourselves as relatively sinless, we must nonetheless suffer a little during our earthly life. For all men and women have solidarity with each other. So there are always a few sins, committed here or there, for which we must suffer, one day or another. Does this make us afraid? Then we should trust in the Lord Jesus! He has gone through this before us! What is more, he has conquered death: he resurrected! Let us follow Jesus! He died and rose again! He has already triumphed over sin and death!
May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary watch over us all, through the Holy Spirit her Spouse, He who is the Power of the Most High (cf. Lk 1:35)!