The prophet Jeremiah endured years of rejection and persecution because of the message that God asked him to deliver. Jeremiah had been arrested, beaten and thrown into prison. All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. Even his closest friends were plotting to kill him. While Jeremiah prays for vengeance – we know that Jesus forgave his enemies, even those who killed Him. Jeremiah had no one to turn to except to the Lord. But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
The difficulty of living faithfully to God was not unique to Jeremiah’s time. Jesus tells the disciples in today’s gospel: And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. We too will suffer for giving witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. Living out our Catholic beliefs may sometimes cause disagreement and some may reject us or even persecute us.
We can not change people’s hearts – but Jesus can. We can lead people to Jesus through the witness of the love of Jesus Christ in our thoughts, words and actions. The Spirit of truth will tesify to me, says the Lord; and you also will testify. (Jn15:26b,27a) We are powered and guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel message. The Holy Spirit speaks through us.
On this Father’s Day weekend, we give thanks to God Our Father in heaven for our earthly father. Let us pray the prayer over fathers from the Book of Blessings:
“God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless these men, that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers. Let the example of faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord.”