Theme: PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST’S GRACE AND LIFE
- Jeremiah 20:10-13
- Psalm 68:8-10. 14. 17. 33-35. R. v. 14.
- Romans 5:12-15
- Matthew 10:26-33
Today is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the readings today (1st reading, psalm, and gospel) tell us 3 things: (i) Proclaim the Good News. (ii) Proclaim the Good News even in times of suffering and persecution. (iii) When we proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution the Lord will be with us!
But first let us look at the good news itself! The second reading from the letter to the Romans tells us the good news that “Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift”! (Rm 5:15)
The caption of the second reading today tells us “The gift considerably outweighed the fall”! The grace was more abundant than the sin, so much so that we may say that the life that Jesus Christ gives is even better than the life before the fall, so much so that we may say that God loves us even more after the fall!
Yes, God loved us and created us out of nothing, but when Adam sinned, God loved us even more by sending us his Son Jesus Christ, the New Adam, the Second Adam, to save us, and today this salvation continues in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit!
We live in the faith and hope that the world is getting better and better because God continues to love us more and more in spite of our sins if not because of our sins!
To appreciate the second reading better, we have to read the second section of Romans Chapter Five (Rm 5:12-21), especially verses 20 and 21: “But however much sin increased, grace was always greater; so that as sin’s reign brought death, so grace was to rule through saving justice that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”! (NJB)
As I have said earlier, the readings today tell us 3 things, namely, that we have to proclaim the good news, we have to proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution, and when we proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution, the Lord will be with us!
The first reading from the prophet Jeremiah tells us that Jeremiah was persecuted because he prophesied the Word of God! Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah between the 7th and 6th century BC (Before Christ). In today’s second reading he was persecuted because he prophesied the fall of Jerusalem!
But more importantly, the second reading tells us in Jeremiah’s own words “But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; …. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men”! (Jr 20:11&13)
Again, the responsorial psalm echoes the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of an innocent man who is being persecuted for his commitment to the Lord, but more importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord listens to his prayer for help!
The first stanza of the responsorial psalm tells us that the innocent man is being persecuted because he was committed to the cause of the Lord. The second stanza tells us that the innocent man prays to the Lord for help! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “In your great love, answer me, O God”! (Ps 68:14) The third stanza tells us that the Lord listens to his prayer for help: “For the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains”! (Ps 68:34)
Again, the gospel tells us to proclaim the good news: “What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the house-tops”! (Mt 10:27) And to proclaim it even in times of suffering and persecution and the Lord will be with us: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; …. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows”! (Mt 10:28-31)
Today in this Mass let us pray for the Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news, and proclaim it even in times of suffering and persecution, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ’s grace and life which is more abundant than the sin and death of Adam!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.