Homily for June 21 - “Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time”
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who are here today. When thinking of my own dad I could not ever recall any fear in his voice or tone. Even when he had to make a choice of whether to undergo treatment for his terminal cancer or not pursue further treatment. In today’s gospel Jesus commands the 12: “Fear no one.” On many occasions Jesus said to the apostles and disciples, to the crowds or to individuals “Do not be afraid.” He wanted us to live fearlessly. Jesus taught that we should let faith rule our life, not fear.
I believe that faith (and love) will conquer fear. I observe fear is widespread and rampant in today’s world. Just watch TV news for awhile, or check out internet sites, read some facebook postings and newspaper headlines. Fear is a very prevalent topic and issue.
Jesus commands “Do not be afraid.” and “Fear no one.” Jesus is the answer to our fear. His love is everlasting - only love can heal or defeat fear at its root and free us from the selfishness and self-centeredness that will imprison us. This past Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His divine heart calls to our hearts and says: let go of your fear and trust in me. Focus your heart on God alone. Rest your heart in my heart and in my loving arms through prayer. Go ahead and bring your shortcomings, weaknesses, temptations, failures, and fears to my Sacred Heart. You will feel your fears fade away.
I like a prayer by Henri J.M. Nouwen and want to share it with you. O Jesus, my heart is little, fearful and very timid. It will always be so. But you say, “Come to my heart. My heart is gentle and humble and very broken like yours. Do not be afraid. Come and let your heart find rest in mine and trust that all will be well.” I want to come, Jesus, and be with you. Here I am, Lord, take my heart and let it become a heart filled with your love.
Let’s take a moment and consider the example of the prophet Jeremiah whom we hear from in today’s First Reading. He is being attacked from every side; even his so-called friends are persecuting him. Jeremiah is arrested, beaten, thrown into prison, and terrorized. Even though he has reason to be fearful and afraid this prophet declares his faith in God: “The Lord is with me … sing to the Lord, praise the Lord …”
Let us pause and remember the promises of Jesus’ sacred, loving heart. Recall his words: “Fear no one.” and “Be not afraid.” May we be faithful, not fearful. And may this Eucharist help everyone to let go of their fears. Jesus, take my heart and let it become a heart filled with your love. Amen.