12th Sunday in ordinary time year A
Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 68:8-10,14,17,33-35, Romans 5:12-15, Matthew 10:26-33
Fear, especially that of rejection, persecution and death, has made many of us Christians to run away from saying the truth. If you are afraid of what people will say or do to you, you can never be a good Christian.
In the first reading of today, we see how God saved the prophet Jeremiah from torture and humiliation because he stood on the side of truth. The king had called false prophets to ask whether he should go to war against the Babylonians, the false prophets assured him that he will be victorious. Jeremiah on the other hand, told him that he had sinned against God, thus he was no longer on the side of God and would not be victorious unless he repents. Jeremiah also went to the entrance of the temple to preach to the people to repent from their sins. The people were therefore not happy with him, and thus got him arrested and tortured. They had planned to get rid of him, but God is always on the side of those who are not afraid of speaking the truth irrespective of whoever is involved.
This is also what is expected of religious leaders. It is not good to tell people what they want to hear, but what is true. People may begin to hate you or stop get concerned in whatever concerns you, but you will be happy at the long run because you have done what is right; God will not let you down.
This is exactly the message in the gospel reading of today. Jesus instructed his Apostles and us today not to be afraid of any human person on earth that we are not able to speak the truth. Whatever they can do to us is only temporal, only God can act in eternity. God can take our life and also send us to hell, but the highest thing any human being can do to us is death. We are therefore not to deny Jesus who is truth, out of fear. If so, he will also deny us before his father. On the other hand, he will not only be with us on earth if we speak the truth, he will also present us to the father.
St Paul in his letter to the Romans as we see in the second reading of today, tells us not to be afraid of death because Jesus has already conquered death. If you are persecuting someone or angry because he/she told you the truth, retrace your steps today because Jesus fights on their behalf. God help us. Amen
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP