(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, June 25, 2017)
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Today's first reading gives us an amazing insight into the anger and discouragement of the prophet Jeremiah.
No one seems to be listening to Jeremiah. Furthermore, the King and all his friends have denounced him, flogged him publicly, and threatened him with death! Jeremiah, in turn, after accusing God of dealing with him deceitfully, decides to quit. Struggling with his feelings, he finally admits that he can't quit because God's word is burning like fire in his bones. He knows God will not desert him, and that his enemies will eventually be brought to justice.
From the time of Jeremiah and the other Old Testament prophets, right through the days of the apostles and martyrs of the New Covenant, and indeed right up to the present day, those who preach the Word of God have met with opposition and violence from evil people. Today, there are millions of Christians suffering persecution in the world.
Why such a violent reaction to the "Good News" from those redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus? Why do many blasphemously say that they are killing Christians as an act of worship to God? It's because of Original Sin!
Today's second reading from the Epistle of Paul to the Romans clearly states the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning Original Sin. In other words, Satan maliciously released the power of evil into the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. That evil has infected every person born; (except Mary because God chose to exempt her, and Jesus, because He was divine as well as human). This doesn't mean that those who kill Christians aren't responsible for their own actions, but only that evil exists in the form of original sin, and that the battle between good and evil isn't over yet!
Evil is something to be feared. But Jesus, in today's Gospel, tells his followers: "Fear no one." He teaches further, "And do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul." Is there anyone we should fear? Yes, "the one who can kill both the soul and the body in Gehenna."
God tells us not to be afraid of suffering for our Faith, for those who are faithful in speaking right out loud in praise of God's truth will share with Him the Final Victory!
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor
Prayer for Vocation
0 loving and gracious God, Father of all, you bless your people in every time and season and provide for their needs through your providential care. Your Church is continually in need of priests, sisters and brothers to offer themselves in the service of the gospel by lives of dedicated love. Open the hearts of your sons and daughters to listen to your call in their lives. Give them the gift of understanding to discern your invitation to serve you and your Church. Give them the gift of courage to follow your call. May they have the spirit of young Samuel who found fulfillment in his life when he said to you, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening." We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, 0 Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.