Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is the story of the little girl who was trapped in an upstairs room of her suburban home when her house caught fire. Her father was below in the yard. He shouted: ‘Jump, love, I’ll catch you!’ In the smoke and confusion, the child shouted back: ‘But Daddy, I can’t see you’ ‘That’s alright, darling’, her father replied, ‘I can see you’. ‘Be not afraid occurs three times in the gospel today and 365 times in the Bible (one for every day of the year). The underlying reason for this invitation is the concern and love of Christ for each and every one of us. Fear is a sentiment, which can cripple many of us. An eminent statesman once said: ‘the only thing we need to fear is fear itself’. Feelings of fear, inadequacy and insecurity seem to go hand in hand especially during these challenging times. Fear is crippling the lives of many people today, those who are in hosptial, in intensive care, will they survive? Grandparents wondering when will they be able to hug their grandchildren again? People who have lost their business will they be able to get back up and running again, people who lost their jobs and incomes, how will we pay the bills; will we get a second wave of this horrible virus? young guards who are trying to keep us safe putting their lives at risk – like Colm Horkan in Castlerea, the list goes on. In the first reading of our mass today Jeremiah’s friends turned into enemies and plotted against him. He cried in anguish to God, like we have cried to God in anguish during this pandemic. How many times has something gotten in the way of our plans and we scream “enough already!” and my God have our plans been turned upside down! St. Paul in the second reading tells us that grace is ours because of Jesus Christ. Yes, we really do matter for God. We must believe it deep down that we are worth a lot to God. This concern and love of God for each and every one of us will help us combat our fears. May Christ give you the grace of courage and may you feel his personal care.
Today is Father’s Day and maybe there is something of the prophet Jeremiah in a good father. Fatherhood is certainly a vocation and it requires long and consistent fidelity to the task. Fatherhood entails sacrifice, constant love, courage hard work and wisdom. There are times a father must speak the hard truths to his children. There are times when he must hold to integrity even when it runs counter to the prevailing culture. His own children may not appreciate what he is doing at the time. He can feel unpopular in his own family. Being a good father is a task that takes many years to fulfill. Some fathers may never see their work completed but doing their best they trust God’s presence even when they are not sure how successful they have been in their vocation as fathers.