Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Perhaps the best way to understand the gospel this week is to hear the wonderful story of the calling of Jeremiah. The Lord said to him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you to be a prophet to all the nations.” And Jeremiah who was just a youth resisted, like all the prophets. He said he did not know how to speak and was too young. The Lord said to him, “Don’t be afraid, I have put my words in your mouth.” The words are already there, he only needed to say them.
The same is true for us. God will put the words in our mouth when they are needed; don’t be afraid to speak of him. Jeremiah was a prophet in the most difficult time of Jewish history: before, during, and after the Exile of the Jews to Babylon and the destruction of the temple. It was a crushing moment for them, not only to be defeated but to be sent to a foreign country for seventy years. He was the prophet during all that time and imagine what he continuously told them: mend your ways or you will be crushed. Surrender to your enemies and you will live. But they did not listen. In the reading we hear of the nickname they called him: “terror on every side.” Here he comes again, preaching the end of the world, which in many ways came true for them.
Jeremiah said just before the reading we hear that despite his complaints and his impossible mission: “There is in my heart something burning and I will burst if I do not speak.” He knew that God was behind him despite the difficulties: “The Lord is with me like a mighty champion.”
So if you are being treated unjustly or bullied in school or in the office God is watching and he will have the last word. Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot destroy your soul. Say the truth with charity, but say it! Especially if you are a parent, kids need to hear the truth, calmly and patiently, but keep saying it. Tell them the stories that underline it. Look for other families that believe it and stay together.
Fear is a natural reaction but Jesus is telling us to exercise trust and courage and not to succumb to it. There are two things that can help when one feels afraid or overwhelmed: You are on the right side. You are with God and not with the world. And as a Christian, you are never alone because you are part of the Body of Christ, with many members supporting you and with you.
Not even one sparrow, worth a half penny, will fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. How much more will he care for you at each moment of your life, especially in these difficult days? Both the disciples and sparrows are fellow members of God’s house; he watches over all of them. The world constantly tells us that God and faith are not essential, not important, but now we know better.
Like the disciples, Jesus sent you to a particular family and street and office to make him present. Don’t be afraid to speak when the opportunity arises. Invite them to come to church with you. Many will return because of your friendship. The Lord is a might champion and is on our side.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,