Gospel June 21, 2020

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah who has often been called a “reluctant” prophet. He was always trying to run away from God because he did not want to be a prophet. Once Jeremiah says ‘Yes’ to God’s call, he speaks what he feels God wants him to say. His message is about repentance of infidelity to their covenant with God. His preaching angers the religious and civil leaders and his own people. Therefore, today’s reading is an excerpt from what is called the “Confessions of Jeremiah” – a revelation of the personal anguish the prophet experiences in his soul as he carries out his ministry. “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.”

The Second Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. For the next 12 weeks, our second reading will be from the Letter of Paul to the Romans. In this reading, Paul contrasts Adam (the cause of sin) to Christ (the cause of grace). Paul’s main point is that God’s gracious gift of Christ is an extravagant response to Adam’s offense and its consequences. Whereas the universality of sin springs from the disobedience of Adam, the superabundance of grace flows from Christ. Jesus did more than free people from the reign of sin and death and make it possible for them to enjoy a full rich life on earth.

The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. This reading is about the end of Jesus’ instruction to his disciples as he sends them forth to carry on his mission of preaching and healing. After having foretold future opposition and persecution, Jesus encourages his disciples to stand firm. “Fear no one.” Therefore, Jesus commands his disciples not to fear their persecutors. He presents before them the image of the sparrow to reinforce the disciples’ trust and Hope in God.

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