June 21, 2020
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 94

Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Romans 5:12-1
Matthew 10:26-33

Praying Ordinary Time

Prayers for Fathers and Husbands

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The last Sunday we celebrated in Ordinary Time was February twenty-third and then came Lent,  followed by Easter Time and then the two special solemnities of the Holy Trinity and The Body and Blood of Jesus. So we are back in ordinary. Three months of extra-ordinary living with much extra-ordinary dying. God, rest them all!

To truly appreciate our First Reading for today’s Eucharistic liturgy, it would help to read the whole of chapter twenty from which our Reading is taken. Pashhur is a pushy temple official who does not appreciate at all what Jeremiah has been pronouncing about Israel as a nation and especially about its religious leaders and conduct. Jeremiah gives Pashhur the name “Terror on every side.”  The prophet knows and feels hostility and threatening dangers.

There follows quite a prayer and song of trust, as well as a confidence that the Lord will take vengeance on God’s enemies. Our Reading ends there, but the remainder of the chapter has Jeremiah fall back into feeling sorry for himself and regretting having ever listened to his call. A man stands within his conflicts of doubting and trusting as his personal reality.

Before I reflect on our Second Reading, a brief comment on today’s Gospel might help. Chapter ten, from which these verses are taken, is about the formation and sending by Jesus of His closest students or disciples. A summary might be that as He was the Pain of Truth in the sides of the religious leaders of Israel, so will His “Sent-Ones” also be.  But they are not to be afraid. All that they have learned in hiding they will bring out into the light, which will, in turn, bring them treatment like that of their Teacher and Sender.

The Second Reading from the Letter to the Romans is worthier of prayerful consideration than my personal reflection, so please read it, listen to its being proclaimed and then after your personal reflection, continue reading here.

The Pandemic has entered the world’s community from within nature itself. Maybe in time, myths will be created about how exactly it occurred. We live these days with its consequences, even deaths. The Law of Moses indicated how to live free from the virus of Sin, but Sin prevailed. Now, though sin entered humanity through one “man,” Grace, the generous overflowing healing, is now entering the human condition through the Obedient One Man, Jesus Christ. What a perfect picture these words form, the “Old Adam” and the “New Adam.”

There will come a saving vaccine for us some day, but Jesus is not that at all. The virus has modified the behavior of many of us, but not all and so there are sad consequences of the passing-on of the disease. A vaccine will perhaps arrest the sicknesses and deaths. Jesus is not a cure-all like that. He is the Divine Continuation of God’s Infinite Creative Love.  He is revealed as an Invitation rather than inoculation. He does not prevent our sins, but by His obedient life, death and resurrection, He heals the fractures of our own sense of being receptive to that Love.

We do pass on the virus by reckless living these days. We pass on sin in a similar manner. Jesus, the “New Adam” is constantly overflowing with that saving grace. He heals us so as to enter again and again that creating Love with which the Eucharist heals us and sends us. As His new apostles, we are sent to live, not as little vaccines, but as the real presence of the One Sent to Heal, Jesus Christ, our Savior.      

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