Introduction: In today’s Gospel we hear from the 10th chapter of Matthew, his mission discourse. In the course of this discourse he has been sending the apostles to continue his mission, but also telling them they will experience rejection as he did. In the first reading we hear from Jeremiah on his living of the mission he received from God.
Homily: The book of the prophet Jeremiah is a long one and a bit difficult to follow. It is comprised of some biographical material about Jeremiah but also puts together his preaching and oracles. When Jeremiah was called he was a reluctant prophet. He protested that he was too young. But he did accept this mission. When he preached he called for the people to turn from the false gods and return to Yahweh.
He didn’t experience a pleasant reception. People threw him down a well, put him in prison, in stocks, mocked and derided him. He told God that he wished he had never been born. He wanted to give up his preaching mission but said that once he decided this he felt a burning in his bones that he could not resist. He did arrive at a point of today’s gospel when he retained confidence in God despite opposition._
Jeremiah is a man of powerful emotions and poetic expressions.
In the Gospel Jesus tells us not to be afraid. He states that the Gospel will triumph. He tells us not to be afraid of those who can kill the body but not the soul. He has concern for the sparrows who are sold very cheaply. Not even one of them falls to the ground without God knowing of it. We are worth more than a whole flock of sparrows. He also tells us that our hairs are numbered. We should not be afraid but then he tells us words that can make us afraid. If we acknowledge him he will acknowledge us before the Father, if we deny him, he will deny us before the Father. He is a God of love and mercy but also of justice.
During this month of the Sacred Heart we can understand Jesus under the title of the Sacred Heart. The founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Father Dehon, invites us to not just look at the pierced heart of Jesus, but to enter into it.
Have we ever suffered for living out gospel or Jesus values? I remember turning down an offer of a membership in a country club in Mississippi . This country club would not admit black people. I remember criticising the Holy See’s handling of a group of people who opposed abortion. I was accused of being in favor of abortion. I remember taking a special interest in a group of people that were considered thieves and gypsies. Some people did not like that. I remember preaching what I thought was the Gospel and people leaving that church for another. There is a cost of discipleship. There is also the danger of preaching our own selfishness and not the teaching of Jesus.
If you enjoyed this article please consider sharing it!