12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Jer. 20:10–13

Jeremiah said: “I hear the whisperings of many: ‘Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!’ All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. ‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.’ But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O LORD of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, for he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!”

Second reading: Rom. 5:12–15

Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.

But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.

Gospel: Mt. 10:26–33

Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

In other words 

by Fr. Raymun J. Festin, SVD (Rome, Italy)

It is said that a true friend will be there for you no matter what happens.

“When the night has come, and the land is dark; and the moon is the only light we see … I won’t be afraid… Just as long as you stand, stand by me,” so goes an old lovely song.

Such is the beauty of human friendship that St. Thomas Aquinas is moved to affirm that “here is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

The Book of the Ecclesiastes 6:14 says that “a faithful friend is a sure shelter, whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.”

Jesus cherishes the gift of friendship. When his hour of suffering came, he elevated his relationship with his disciples to the level of friendship: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15).

And: “Greater love has no one than this, that he/she lay down his/her life for his/her friends” (Jn. 15:13).

From the perspective of human friendship, we can perhaps better understand Jesus’ words in the Gospel this Sunday: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”

It is as if Jesus is telling his disciples that anyone who stands by him in good and bad times is a true friend, and he will, in turn, stand by them no matter what happens.

But how do we stand by Jesus—or how do we prove we are his friends—when “the night has come, and the land is dark?”

Jesus says, “You are my friend if you do what I command you.”

In other words, it is by our word and action that we can show we are Jesus’ friends. That is how we abide in Jesus in the indissoluble bond of friendship. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (Jn. 15:5), He tells us.

Yes, indeed, whoever finds a true friend has found a rare treasure—much more so if that friend is Jesus, who will never let us down.

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