Video Lessons on the “four pillars” of the Catechism
Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt c. 1630
Jeremiah trusts in God’s Justice
In the First Reading, the 6th century BC prophet Jeremiah confesses his fears in his mission as God’s emissary to the nation of Judah. He is faithful in delivering God’s messages of repentance and judgment to the covenant people. However, he is opposed and rejected by his countrymen, and even his friends ridiculed him. Despite his hardships and sorrows, Jeremiah writes that he continues to praise Yahweh, who is his mighty champion, and he trusts in God’s justice.
Jeremiah’s experience of rejection
In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist is greatly distressed and makes an appeal to God for his deliverance. He says that the cause of his suffering is his zeal for God’s holy Temple and the defense of His Holy Name. He mourns that this is the cause of his estrangement from his countrymen and his children.
In this psalm, the Fathers of the Church saw the distress Jesus experienced during His earthly ministry. Many of His countrymen rejected Him and His message. He became an outcast and a prisoner when His countrymen delivered Him to the Romans to be condemned and to suffer death by crucifixion like a common criminal. Like the psalmist, God heard Jesus’ prayer and delivered Him from the bonds of death.
Jesus Christ the Second Adam
In the Second Reading, St. Paul addresses the origin of sin and death and the effect the first man’s (Adam) sin had on all humanity. Adam was our human father, and as a consequence of his rebellion against God, we have inherited physical death and a ruptured relationship with our Divine Father just as we inherit our other genes and traits of human inheritance. Through our first parents, we are born physically alive but spiritually separated from God. We inherited the tendency to sin, which causes the life-long struggle to resist Satan and the temptation to yield to wrongdoing. Jesus is the second Adam, who frees us from bondage to sin in the Sacrament of Baptism when we are spiritually reborn as children in the family of God.
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Jesus Urges His Disciples to have Courage when faced with Persecution
In the Gospel Reading, Jesus commands His disciples not to be afraid. He urges them not to keep His teachings about His Kingdom to themselves. The message of the good news of the Kingdom of the Messiah is to be a public proclamation and not the valued secret of a few. Jesus warns that salvation is only through Him, and acknowledging Him as Savior and Lord by proclaiming our belief in Him to others is a condition of our discipleship.
1. Turn to the person next to you and share what word/s or image/s in the readings caught your attention. Did they comfort or challenge you or touch you in some way? Which part of the Passion story speaks to you most this year? Why?
2. Can you recall a time or experience when God was with you like a ‘mighty champion’? Have you ever asked God to strike down those who have hurt you grievously?
3. What can strike fear into your heart? What helps you deal with fear?
4. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on
©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Responding to God’s Word
Be aware of where fear rules in your life and seek to combat it with courage and trust in God.
Praying with the Word
Lord, you know when fear strikes my heart, I find it hard to combat it with trust in you. Fill me with the courage and trust I need to deal with what frightens me.
Lord, we ask you to deliver usfrom fear of the unknown future: from fear of failure, from fear of poverty, from fear of bereavement, from fear of loneliness, from fear of sickness and pain, from fear of age, andfrom fear of death. Help us, Father, by your grace to love you above all, and to fear nothing. Fill our hearts with cheerful courageand loving trust in you. Through our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.Amen.
Video by Larry Broding. Visit Word-Sunday.com website for detailed commentary and other resources regarding the readings for this Sunday.
INTRODUCTION — Suffering is real, even for those who are called by God. The prophets, the disciples, Christians from the very beginning often paid a price for responding to the call. We may understand this more readily in times of persecution or political unrest or observe it in other faith traditions. When have we had to overcome fear because of our faith? Even choosing to live a Gospel life may overwhelm us. Fear is death-dealing, and all great spiritual teachers counsel against it. Jesus said it often: Don’t be afraid.
|Lord Jesus, you counseled your disciples to speak and act boldly: Lord, have mercy.||Christ Jesus, you assured them of God’s love for them: Christ, have mercy.||Lord Jesus, you call us, too, to live our faith without fear: Lord, have mercy.|
NCR SUNDAY RESOURCES – Joan DeMerchant
EXCERPT – All fear is bondage. If we let fear control us, it robs us of our freedom to act. It paralyzes us. It sets us in a vicious circle, where we keep knowing the things that we should do but somehow never find the power to do them. How do we break this bondage of fear? How do we short-circuit this vicious circle that keeps robbing us of our life? We have to reach outside of ourselves. As those in AA would say, we have to find a higher power. This is what Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel. Three times in the gospel he says, “Do not be afraid.” (2015)
RELATED HOMILIES BY FR. SIGMA: Noticing the details of life (2008), The problem with sparrows (2017)
BUILDING ON THE WORD – Fr. George Sigma
EXCERPT — There are many thought-provoking passages in Jeremiah that reflect the prophet’s mental states and attitudes during his prophetic career. Today we hear about his haters. In the first reading, Jeremiah describes the attacks that he experiences because of his community’s discontent with his prophetic message. People whisper about him, denounce him and even his friends watch as he stumbles. Although he faces negativity, Jeremiah frames these negative experiences as tests of his righteousness to see if he would remain faithful to God even during difficult moments. While struggling, Jeremiah expresses his faith in God as his defender. Likewise, he recognizes that God takes care of those who are most in need. As many people continue to struggle and may at times feel under attack, Jeremiah reminds us to seek refuge in the Lord.
AMERICA MAGAZINE – Jamie Waters
EXCERPT – If the Father is concerned over even one sparrow who falls to the ground, this animal of so little value, surely the Fatherwill care for you whom he loves so profoundly. Why do you fear, then? The one and only fear that disciples are entitled to is fear of sin. No real harm can cometo anyone except through sin. Sin will incur the wrathof God; nothing else will. If we do not sin, we are safe, since God himself punishes sin with eternal damnation. Again, Matthew uses the qal wahomerdevice:everyone knows that disciples of Christ do not sin! So, what is there to fear? The concludingverses use thefamiliar scene of a courtroom where people are charged with misdeeds,where evidence for or against them is heard, where a judgment is handed down. Jesus himself will be our witness there if we have been faithful to him. What a consolation that is for the ones who have been faithful! How terrible it would be for those who have betrayed Christ and have risked that he will now stand before God to charge them with that unspeakable crime!
Echoing God’s WordS – Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017)
EXCERPT – The all-important context for today’s gospel (Matt 10:26-33) is the missionary instruction that Jesus is giving to the twelve apostles. Jesus is firm in his assertion that persecution and division will be their lot. This will come from “outsiders” who do not accept Jesus, and even “insiders” within their own families (as well as those who claim to be followers of Jesus but still believe and live like pagans). Not once does Jesus even hint that being his disciple will be an easy task.Three times Jesus tells the apostles not to be afraid. Fear is sand in the machinery of life. It is False Evidence Appearing Real Wherein we have fear we are not trusting God.
EXCERPT – The objects of our fears usually have names: something, some event, some person. They are the things we worry or fret over: the precious possessions we might, like Job, be divested of; the health of body that, like Job’s, could disappear; the loved ones we might lose. We know the threats we fear. We see them in nightmares, muster our forces against them, plan our defenses and counterattacks. Yet in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus advises us not to fear the things or people who can harm the body. God attends to the needs of the sparrow, knowing every one that drops to the ground. As for us, every hair on our head is counted. We are not to worry.
SUNDAY WEB SITE – Father John Kavanaugh, SJ
THIS WEEK’S CATECHISM EXCERPTS
“By using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the homilist can help his people integrate the word of God, the faith of the Church, the moral demands of the Gospel, and their personal and liturgical spirituality.”
From the Homiletic Directory
CCC 905: evangelizing by the example of life
CCC 1808, 1816: courageous witness of faith overcomes fear and death
CCC 2471-2474: bear witness to the truth
CCC 359, 402-411, 615: Adam, Original Sin, Christ the New Adam
Adam, Original Sin, Christ the New Adam
359 “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.”224
- St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. . . The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: “I am the first and the last.”225
The consequences of Adam’s sin for humanity
402 All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.”289 The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.”290
403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam’s sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul”.291 Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.292
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”.293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” – a state and not an act.
405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
406 The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297
A hard battle. . .
407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.298 Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action299 and morals.
408 The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John’s expression, “the sin of the world”.300 This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men’s sins.301
409 This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one”302 makes man’s life a battle:
- The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.303
IV. “YOU DID NOT ABANDON HIM TO THE POWER OF DEATH”
410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.304 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.
411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.305 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.306
412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, “Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.”307 And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'”308
Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience
615 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin“, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”.444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445