“Do not be afraid” – Sunday’s Reflections

The first reading at Mass today, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, is from Jeremiah 20: 10-13. It shows how the prophet is aware that those who oppose him are out to get him – indeed he’s nearly killed. In the whole book the Jeremiah grapples with God and is open about the pain of being called to denounce the rulers of the people, to tell people that they’re ‘doomed’ and their country will be destroyed – because of their sins. Whenever the Church has tried to carry out a similar prophetic ministry – and there are many examples at the moment – we incur the same unpopularity and abuse.

Jesus anticipates this in our gospel reading from Matthew 10:26-33. ‘Do not be afraid’ is his message, when we’re given a hard time for proclaiming the gospel from the rooftops; he will stand by us. In the world at the moment the best example of this is the ministry of Pope Francis – constantly showing God’s love for those who are suffering, and constantly challenging the rulers of the world and the rich. As many recent books have shown (such as Austen Ivereigh ‘Wounded Shepherd’ and Christopher Lamb ‘The Outsider’) this has brought much hatred and abuse on his head, particularly from well-funded right-wing Catholics in the US. As we are inspired by Jeremiah this weekend, please pray for the Holy Father.

God bless and have a good Sunday

Fr Ashley

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