HOMILY FOR THE 12TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
1. Context of 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time year A 1st reading and Gospel
Today’s 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time year A 1st reading and Gospel remind us that as Christians, we will face difficulties and persecutions for the sake of our Faith:
- We will face discrimination, calumnies, detractions and even persecution, which is still happening worldwide.
And in the face of these adversities we encounter daily, we shall also feel the temptation to let ourselves be carried away by fear and to hide our condition as Christians, deterring us from the testimony that we must give.
- However, Our Lord in today’s Gospel assures us, ”do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. (Mt 10: 26-33).
- He also promises that He will stand on our side before the Father in heaven, if we acknowledge Him before men, but not only in difficult times, but daily. DO WE REMEMBER GOD AS OUR FATHER DAILY, AND TREAT HIM AS SUCH?
Do not be afraid: Jesus tells us. But at the same time, He assures us that God the Father will always take care of us for we are worth more than many sparrows, and we must learn how to trust in God’s Providence.
2. What is God’s providence?
WHAT DOES GOD’S PROVIDENCE MEAN?
It means that God as a Father, and the best among the world, provides and takes care of our needs as He always had, and always will.
- If human fathers do great and noble things, and for these we thank all the fathers in the world who knew how to give themselves to their children in the best way they know and could, how much more God who is our loving Father.
- I remember children who at one point compare the achievements and position of their fathers….my father is this and that…my father is much better: for he could do this and that….If we realize that children are proud of their fathers for their abilities and position in life (whatever it may be) ut above all of the sacrifice and self-giving without being ashamed of their position, how much more if we realise that our FATHER IS GOD, AND GOD IS OUR SURNAME. And we are his children.
Our Lord uses the image of the “little birds” to illustrate how much God the Father values us and loves us, his children.
As St Jerome says (Comm. in Matth., 10:29-31): “If little birds, which are so little value, still come under the providence and care of God, how is it that you, who given the nature of your soul are immortal, can fear that you are not looked after carefully by him whom you respect as your Father?”
How often we forget this fundamental idea, and fall into loneliness, pessimism and despair!
May our attitude not only in the midst of adversities, but throughout our life, be that of a child who is convinced of his father’s love: that God is my Father.
- If we realize that our Father is God Himself, All-Powerful, Almighty, who loves us, we will have the interior strength, optimism, joy and serenity, knowing that He, who gave us His Only Begotten Son, will never abandon us.
- May we always HAVE THE COURAGE TO CALL GOD OUR FATHER, AND MAY WE ALWAYS TRUST HIM AND “turn to and ask HIM with confidence. All our needs, from the most evident, daily ones such as food, health, work, to those of forgiveness and support against temptations, are not the reflection of our solitude. There is, instead, a Father who always looks at us with love and who certainly does not abandon us.” Pope Francis.
Dear brethren in Christ, as Catholics, we shall face many difficulties. People can knock us down. They can insult us, call us names and even cause us physical injury. But with our Faith in God’s Providence, they can never stop us at getting up again, moving forward and striving to live our lives according to God’s Will, confident of God’s Fatherly grace and love. May we learn how to abandon ourselves into the hands of the father and trust in his loving fatherly providence.
As such, we must always struggle to overcome fear and not allow that it may overpower us for “A son of God fears neither life nor death, because his spiritual life is founded on a sense of divine filiation. So he says to himself: God is my Father and he is the Author of all good; he is all Goodness. But, you and I, do we really act as sons of God? (St. Josemaria, Forge, 987).” Rather, we must fear and avoid anything that would “destroy both soul and body in Gehenna“: mortal sin which destroys our friendship with God.
We end this homily with the prayer of St. Josemaria: “My Lord and my God, my Father! Into your hands I abandon the past, the present and the future, everything: little and big, great and small, temporal and eternal. (St. Josemaria, “The Way of the Cross,” Seventh Station, point 3, Prayer of Abandonment).”
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