Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah was disparaged because he had given his life wholly to God, and for those whose life didn’t – he confronted. John the Baptist was the same. Jesus was the same. Their love of God and for their brothers and sisters was so overwhelming that they were compelled to stand up and give witness to God’s love.
“My brother, my sister God loves you – don’t live your life that way, if you live that way you will die in your sin.” The prophets understood this precisely because of their great love of God. God spoke to Jerimiah saying “confront this land: its princes and rulers. They will fight against you, but not overcome you. I am with you to deliver you.”
‘Because my love is confronting, confront this land.’ The message is the same for us. Yes, they will fight against you. But… here comes the Gospel, “Do not be afraid. Proclaim my love unflinchingly, in the end all people’s intentions will be uncovered. Proclaim my love, I the Lord your God am with you. Nothing can happen to you – they can kill you, but you will be raised in glory. Do not be afraid. Fearlessly confront my people with my love.
In fact, 2 Timothy (3:12) tells us if we are not being persecuted for our faith, we are not devoted to Christ. God calls us to conversion, to repentance. People go one of two ways – they will accept Gods’ message and radically change their life. Alternately, they will refuse to see any fault in their living, and will obstinately reject Gods message, and the messenger. They killed Jesus for this reason. They killed John the Baptist for this reason. Refusal, rejection, hatred.
My brothers and sister -God confronts everyone. It may be upsetting, but God wounds us to heal us. He calls us to convert, to centre our entire living around our faith in Jesus Christ. God calls us to staunchly proclaim his love even when it is not politically correct. Margaret Court says 'My LGBT brother or sister, God loves you, does not condemn you, but the sake of your eternal life, you must change the way you live your life.'
Here there is a pattern: confrontation with Gods love, followed by persecution. BUT! Do not be afraid. Jesus is our rock. All the strength we need is given us by Jesus who even gave us his Body and Blood.
On the night of the last supper, before he was betrayed, Jesus gave that special gift – the gift of himself when he changed bread and wine into his Body and Blood. Then he gave up his life on the Cross. What he did, he asks us to do for each other, saying “Do this in memory of me.”
We can do this because we are made one with him when we receive his Body and Blood. It’s as if Jesus speaks to us when we receive communion: ‘Do not be afraid, I live within you to give you all the strength you need to proclaim Gods love in the presence of all men and women.’ Thanks be to God for such a great gift.