12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 25, 2017)

We heard St. Paul remind us that the sin of Adam has affected all of us - death entered the world. But Jesus has overcome death and his gift of the grace of salvation forgives the sin of Adam and our own sins and gives us new life - a sharing in the very life of God - a life that will continue beyond our death to this world.

God’s loving mercy goes far beyond the forgiveness we need. God gives us life unending. In light of God’s gracious mercy, why do we become so obsessed with sin and not with grace?

The surety of our faith in God’s mercy can give us the courage and the strength needed to face the opposition and intimidation that disciples of Jesus are bound to experience. Jesus tells us: Fear no one - not even those who have the power to destroy our bodies in this life. The same Father who cares so lovingly for the little sparrows cares even more for us.

Confidence can flow from our knowledge of God’s loving providence for us - a confidence that will allow us to speak boldly about the ways of God and proclaim by the way we live that Jesus is Lord.

Like Jeremiah, we may experience the plottings of those around us. But we will know that the Lord is with us, like a mighty champion. We can put ourselves in God’s hands and know that God will hold us safe.

The challenge for each of us is our willingness to witness to Jesus’ way of living each day, our willingness to sacrifice our own interests and concerns for His, our willingness to put our worries and anxieties about the difficulties of our daily life in Jesus’ hands - and confidently live by the gift of God’s gracious mercy shown to us in Jesus.

The challenge is great! And we might ask: “What about the reward?” “Anyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Can we ask for more?

I think not.