Sunday, 21 June 2020 : Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scripture, all of us are reminded yet again and again to put our complete trust and faith in God, and give our best to serve Him for if we are truly faithful to Him, then we have nothing to fear in this world, and we have no need to be worried about. God has always been with us and He will never abandon us to the darkness.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, the part in which he lamented about the treatment he received from many of those who rejected him and refused to listen to him. The prophet Jeremiah laboured hard for many years in the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, and yet, for all those years as he spoke to the people of God’s words and warned them of their upcoming doom if they continued to disobey God, his words went unheeded and many opposed him and his works.

And they treated him so badly that Jeremiah almost lost his life on few occasions. When his enemies plotted against him and threw him into a drainage sewer to die, it was only by the help of his few friends and the cooperation of the king that prevented him from being killed. There were indeed so many occasions in which Jeremiah had to suffer and endure all sorts of trials and indignities, humiliation and discomfort. Yet, Jeremiah trusted in the Lord and committed himself wholeheartedly in Him, and God protected him and was with him throughout the mission and journey.

In the end, the Lord’s faithful will triumph against the wicked, their enemies and all those who persecuted them. This is what the Lord Himself has said and reassured us as we have heard in our Gospel passage today when He spoke of us needing not to fear those who can destroy the body, but rather fear the One Who can destroy both body and soul. And God assured us all that every single one of us are precious to Him, and each and every one of us will be well taken care of.

That was why, God has sent us His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour and to be the source of all hope and strength for each and every one of us. We must not lose sight of this hope and light that we have received from God, and we must trust that God will always protect us and provide us no matter what, and no matter how difficult and challenging the situation may be for us. And St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, our second reading today reassured us in just the same manner. Though sin may have once reigned over us and made us to fear, but through Christ, we have received the path out and liberation from this tyranny of sin and death.

By His most loving, selfless and perfect sacrifice on the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ has delivered us from certain destruction due to our sins. As mentioned, the disobedience of Adam brought sin into the world, as disobedience against God led to sin, and sin brought about our sundering and separation from God, and separation from God led us to death. Yet, the Lord loved each and every one of us so much that He has given us His Son, to suffer for us and to die for us that by His suffering and death, we may live.

What does this mean for us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that reflecting on our own current situation and our world condition today, just as we know how challenging and difficult things are for so many of us these days, we must remain positive and hopeful. We have to be the source of hope and beacons of light in the darkness for one another, and we must not give in to despair, just as even the prophet Jeremiah did not give up despite all that he had to suffer and endure, all the years of trials and persecutions.

We have definitely suffered in one way or another during this difficult and uncertain time, and we must also have known those who have lost their jobs, their sources of income, and worse still, having lost their loved ones, our own loved ones and those who are known to us due to the terrible impact of this still ongoing and raging coronavirus pandemic. Many among us then also worry or fear for our own future when we see our once seemingly secure and stable income collapsed and disappeared without much notice.

And we have seen how all these challenges and trials led to many among us acting and reacting irrationally, irresponsibly and selfishly, with each one of us trying to secure our own security, safety, means of living among other things. We have heard and seen how people hoarded essential goods and even fought over those important commodities and goods, how we become intolerant and easily agitated by what is happening all around us. We see all the instances of civil disturbances, rise in racism and prejudices among us in our communities.

All of these were caused by our own insecurities and desires, our wishes to secure for ourselves the good living we used to enjoy before these difficult days and times. But when we allow ourselves to be swayed and tempted by these, and controlled by our desires, by our fears and insecurities, then it is what will bring us into our downfall, just as Adam fell into the devil’s temptations and sinned against God through disobedience. It was the same traps that the evil one and all the forces of evil have placed and arrayed against us all.

That is why during these difficult and challenging times, all the more that we all need to refocus our attention on God and put Him at the very centre of our lives and existence. Unless we put God at the centre of our lives, it will be easy for us to lose our way, to be swayed and tempted, to be turned into slaves of our own desire and our own fears and insecurities, as the events unfolding in the past few weeks and months had shown us. As Christians therefore we are challenged to be bringers of God’s hope and light into the midst of our communities, to our families and among all those whom we know and encounter in life.

Are we able to commit ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to live our lives ever more faithfully from now on, and leading a life and existence blessed by God? Let us all embrace our Christian calling, to follow the examples of the Apostles, the prophets and saints, our holy predecessors, all those who have entrusted themselves to God, and those who did not let fear or insecurities, worldly concerns, matters and desires to lead them astray. Let us all be inspiration for one another, learning from the very same inspiration of our holy predecessors in faith, in living our lives centred on God.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in faith, and may He give us the courage and the ability to persevere through whatever challenges and trials we may encounter in life, knowing first and foremost that He is always ever present by our side and that no matter what, He will always be ever faithful to the Covenant that He has established with each and every one of us, His beloved ones. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.