Daily Reflection – Jun 25, 2017
Sunday 25 June 2017
First Reading:Jeremiah 20:10-13
Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:26-33
Today’s Note: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And 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.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. (Matthew 10:33)
Most of Jesus’ words are encouraging and inspiring. But occasionally, he says something that shakes us up. For example, Jesus told us that our righteousness had better not be like that of the Pharisees, or we will not get into heaven (Matthew 5:20). He told us that unless we eat his Body and drink his Blood, we will not have eternal life (John 6:54). He even said, “Woe to you who are rich” (Luke 6:24).
Of course Jesus is a God of mercy and love. But today’s Gospel is one of those seemingly harsh messages that make us worry about our eternal happiness. What are we supposed to do with statements like these?
Let’s look at St. Peter. He, the “Rock” of the Church, denied that he even knew Jesus! But rather than scolding Peter or saying, “I am going to deny you before my Father,” Jesus simply asked Peter, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15, 16, 17). He knew that Peter felt deep remorse. He knew that Peter had wept bitter tears of sadness over his weakness. So Jesus’ question was clearly an invitation to reconciliation.
In a similar way, Jesus knows that we are all weak. He knows that we all betray him in one way or another. And he treats us just as he treated Peter.
The key to understanding this unsettling passage from the Gospel is this: Where is your heart? Peter loved Jesus. He wanted nothing more than to serve Jesus. He wasn’t a coward. He was just a human being, and human beings can be overcome by fear and temptation at times.
So for Peter, as well as for all of us, this is the important distinction: Are you a sinner who doesn’t know how to love God? Or are you a lover of God who falls into sin? Peter was a lover of God. So were all the other apostles who fled at Jesus’ arrest. They may have failed Jesus at that moment, but Jesus never failed them. And he won’t fail us!
“Jesus, I love you. Teach me to remain steadfast.”