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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

Happy Father’s Day


Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 21:10-13

Psalm 69

Romans 5:12-15

Matthew 10:26-33


In today’s Gospel narrative Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do not be afraid.”  In fact he tells them not to have fear three times.  However, he tells them to, “Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna,” and that is God Himself. 

It is a wonderful thing Jesus does, after calling His apostles to follow Him, He try’s to take away their fear.  Our Lord knows that fear is the enemy of generous, heroic service.  If Jesus is to call others to follow in the path before Him, He must first encourage them.  He gives courage to replace fear.  The courage He gives comes from a confidence in His promises.

Isn’t this the dynamic that’s operative in our lives as well?  When we reflect on what keeps us from a greater and deeper commitment to service of others, the answer is always, because of some unexplained fear.  Fear is complicated.  If we open up the various “excuses” or “the things that keep me from” a greater surrender of ourselves in love and service of others, somewhere underneath we always discover some fear.  It’s only natural.

Self-preservation is a good instinct.  Without it, we would have no natural defenses to predators or enemies.  Self-care is a good thing.  Without it, we risk squandering the gifts of life God has given us.  However, in a world in which there is no transcendent reality, that is no reality beyond the day to day battle for survival, “self” becomes the “ultimate” concern.  This too is only natural. 

Sisters and brothers, when Jesus says, “Do not be afraid,” He is telling us that we can place our lives in His hands.  He is telling us that He has already taken care of the ultimate “self-preservation.”  No one can ever take that away.  We will live forever!  We are only here on this earth, in this life, for a brief time.  In helping us keep our ultimate goal and meaning in perspective, Jesus is empowering us with great freedom.  Our hearts need not be occupied with ourselves.  If we are liberated from this debilitating self-pre-occupation, we are freed to give our lives away, in great and heroic acts of love and service.    

Imagine how different our lives could be, if in the face of self-centering-fear, we would pause and say, “Courage my soul; I don’t need that fear; be brave; be free; trust in Jesus’ tender care.”  Imagine if I “tuned out” or “turned off” the inner voice of self-absorption, and became absorbed in the needs of others.

Can this be what Jesus meant when He said, “If you lose your life for my sake, you will find it?”     

Question of the Day:  How will you serve others in need with your time, talent and treasure?

Prayer:  Father of Mercy, forgive my failings and keep me in Your Grace.  Lead me in the way of salvation.  Give me strength in serving You as a follower of Jesus, our risen Lord, as I serve others in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

Special Fathers Day Prayer:  God our Father, we give You thanks and praise for fathers young and old.  We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; may they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.  We pray for fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; may they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.  We pray for men who are not father but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.  We remember fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love.  Amen

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our nation and in our world.


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