12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020

My Dear People, 

First of all,  I would Like to wish all the fathers: Happy Father’s Day! 

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells the apostles they must not be afraid of their opponents. They must still proclaim the gospel.  It would be tempting to stop preaching the gospel or to soften its message in order to make things easier and protect themselves from suffering. But Jesus entrusts the full gospel message to his disciples, and others are dependent on them to proclaim it for their salvation. Therefore, Jesus says, even though they will be persecuted like their teacher and Lord, they must not be afraid. What they learned from Jesus is they must speak in the light, not being afraid to proclaim it on the housetops. 

Such bold proclamation may lead to martyrdom. If faced with the choice between dying for the sake of Christ or denying him to save one’s life, we must remember that the worst thing our enemies can do is kill the body; they cannot kill the soul. Better to save one’s soul than to save one’s physical life. Therefore we should fear God much more than our persecutors, for only God has power over the body and soul. In other words, we should have a healthy fear of the Lord because God alone can destroy both the soul and the body in Gehenna.  

In the face of persecution, if the disciple acknowledges Jesus before his enemies, Jesus will acknowledge him before his heavenly father,  so that even if his enemies harm his body God will save his soul. But the disciple who rejects Christ to save his life here on earth cannot rely on Jesus to defend him on judgment day: whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. 

In sum, Jesus addresses the Twelve in a very straightforward way about the opposition they will encounter on the mission he is giving them (10:16-33). Matthew records these words for future disciples, whose lot will be the same. As we read in  history that in the first 300 years of Christianity, the Christians had to affirm their faith boldly and many were martyred because of it. As a result of it, many who were not Christians joined their ranks and decided to become Christians because of the strong example that they set.

In regards to being a Catholic Christian and professing our faith, Jesus tells us be not afraid, so let us pray each day that we may not be afraid to express our faith with certitude and commitment and know that when we do that Christ is there with us. 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Vincent Clemente


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