Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Responsoral Psalm: 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Second reading: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33
By mid-June, school vacation days have begun across most of the country. Breakneck schedules for families subside. During this blessed time, travel is usually on the agenda. Those of us who live where it is hot long to go to some place cool. On the other hand, those who have endured months of living in a deep freeze often plan trips to sunny realms.
No matter what direction the compass may lead us, the summer itinerary of most vacationers will include a visit to at least one historical site. Walking the same ground where our fellow human beings have been put to the test often mesmerizes us. Their past becomes part of our past, and their stories become part of our own.
I never will forget my first visit to the lush Pennsylvania farmland where fields rich with sweet corn create towering green roadside walls. My destination that day had once been simply part of the rolling landscape — an open field that stretches to a patch of trees in the distance. I was one of millions of people to have visited this quiet place where the echoes of birdsong and muffled voices fill the air. One of history’s great ironies lay before me. The green grass now covers ground that once was soaked with blood. In the peace of a summer day the thunder of war raged — men and animals alike were trapped in the great pandemonium of suffering.
As I walked around the field, I thought of Abraham Lincoln, tormented by loneliness and the anguish of leadership, waiting for the horrific battlefield reports telegraphed from Gettysburg in July. Biographers tell us he was a man of great prayer, a man chosen by history whose only constant was God.
The first reading for this Sunday comes from the prophet Jeremiah. When we hear this ancient voice, it is helpful to know something of the man. God called Jeremiah to preach a message of repentance to God’s people who had strayed far away from their faith. In times of doubt, Jeremiah thinks that perhaps God has made a fool of him. In today’s passage from this great prophet we have a window into his suffering. However, we also have a palpable example of his sustaining faith.
What people in your life have been models of courage sustained through their reliance on God? When has your trust in God strengthened your ability to stand against the work of evil?