Sunday, June 21, 2020
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Liturgical Color: Green
First reading: Jeremiah 20:10–13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69:8–10, 14, 17, 33–35
Second reading: Romans 5:12–15
Gospel: Matthew 10:26–33
At long last, we return to green vestments and the Sundays of Ordinary Time. The theme is no longer one of glorification, as we suddenly find ourselves face to face with mortal danger and intense suffering. Enemies are upon us, and our only hope is God.
But this is primarily Christ’s suffering, since everything in Scripture has something to do with Him — with his Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. This Sunday treats of his Passion, and specifically his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and insofar as we Christians are united to Him through faith and virtuous living, of our own earthly vulnerability and suffering as well.
The First Reading and the Psalm speak of the malevolent plotting of enemies and the impending misery of the faithful caused by their so-called defenders in the People of God providing no protection at all, because they rely on their own resources instead of the strength and mercy of the Lord.
Left without king or priest who will call upon the Almighty on their behalf, the people are thus left to seek God for themselves, “for the LORD hears [the cry of] the poor,” just as He heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. But in the fullness of time, He sent his Servant, Moses, to lead them to freedom in the Promised Land. And in the latter days, God sent his Son, Jesus, to do the same for all peoples and all times. The Promised Land now appears as Heaven, where there are no more tears.
The Apostle Paul, in the Second Reading, speaks of the appearance and function of sin, and also of the divine gift of Christ’s redemption of mankind by his Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. That gift, through our acceptance and obedience, will “overflow for the many.”
Sin came into the world through Adam, and with it, eternal death. But Christ — the “second Adam” — brings the joy of eternal life. The price we pay is obedience. We must give up our own will for that of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus encourages us to “fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” We fear the unknown, both the future and those who seek to hide their deeds from us because they are evil. Yet nothing happens “without your Father’s knowledge.” Therefore, hope in Him, because neither suffering nor death can conquer or triumph. The Lord alone is absolute ruler of all creation. He will lead our way through the desert to the Promised Land.