Jeremiah 20:10-13 Romans 5:12-15 Matthew 10:26-33
Examining the readings today, we should note that there are some striking similarities between what Jeremiah endures in the first reading and what the disciples are being prepared to endure in today’s Gospel. Jeremiah remarks that he hears “the whisperings of many, terror on every side!” Jeremiah was trying to warn the Israelites to change their ways - to honor the covenant they had made with the Lord - or they would surely be attacked and defeated by the Babylonians and exiled from their homeland. This was a very unpopular message , and there were many among his listeners who wanted to kill him for proclaiming it.
In the Gospel (from Matthew) Jesus warns his disciples that the message he is asking them to deliver will be unpopular to many of their listeners, who will want to hurt and even kill them for delivering it.
In both situations, with Jeremiah and with the disciples of Jesus, the fear that the message holds for those who must deliver it can only be overcome by loving and by trusting in God. We see that Jeremiah has already realized that, and has decided to proclaim God’s message, no matter the cost, for he loves God that much.
Looking at history, we see that many of the early disciples of Jesus faced almost certain persecution and eventual death at the hands of those who did not accept their message.
While we might not face literal death for it, to be a disciple for Christ, one must muster considerable courage and perseverance. It is not an easy thing to do. Indeed , the only virtue that can give us the power to exercise such strength is the virtue of love. It is love that drives out fear. It is love that bonds us with the Lord. It is love, as demonstrated by God’s care for us, that triumphs over all. Even in the face of death, love triumphs. To truly love requires courage…requires perseverance…requires trust. There is perhaps no more challenging activity - and none more rewarding - than love!
by: Bill Miller