Many people in our nation claim to believe in God. Many would classify themselves as Christians.
Before the virus, attendance at weekly church worship is better in America than in many other countries of the world. Yet our religious values do not seem to affect the life of our society.
We have the worst abortion rate. The worst sex and violence rate. The worst substance abuse rate of any country in the world. There are more murders in one average size American city than in all of most other countries.
Why is this the case? Could it be because we Catholics and other Christians wring our hands and keep our mouths closed? We are intimidated by the world – a world which denies the reality of sin and evil.
We allow evil to triumph. We fall for the rhetoric of those who say that everyone must be “free to do whatever he or she wants to do – regardless of the consequences”. Today’s mass speaks to us about social silence and it’s effect on the world in which we live.
Our first reading comes from the prophet Jeremiah who was called to be a prophet when the nation of Israel had become so corrupt that nothing could be done to reform it.
Jeremiah didn’t want to be a prophet; he wanted to sit on the sidelines and be silent and indifferent. He wanted to be “un-involved”. He was afraid; so he tried to talk his way out of his vocation – call from God. Ultimately, he accepted his role and began to speak out about sin and corruption and called his people to religious and moral change.
He told the people about their infidelity to God; and he warned them that their nation would be punished by God and taken into prison camps in Babylon. Because of his message, Jeremiah was treated as an outcast and a stranger. Even his friends abandoned him and they tried to kill him; yet he remained faithful to the Lord because he knew that somehow, God would get him through his trials.
The world today is still under the influence of original sin and the evil one. The world opposes the truth. Saint Paul speaks of this original sin in the second reading today. He says the world has been locked under the reign of sin, and will remain so until we begin to speak up (by word and example) for the truth – even though we might be ridiculed, denounced or abandoned by our friends – as was the case of Jeremiah.
It is much easier to keep silence than to speak out. It’s difficult to have the wisdom to know what, when, and how to speak: but like Jeremiah, we are called to share in the prophetic ministry of Jesus.
Like the Apostles in the Gospel, we are called upon to denounce sin and announce the Kingdom of God. We are called by God to bring light and change to our fallen world. This means that we must truly live our faith and speak out against the evils we encounter.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Apostles (and us), “Do not be afraid.” Do not trust in the false, empty hopes and promises that the world offers. He says: “Do not get discouraged. Proclaim the truth fearlessly.” Know that God will not permit us to suffer destruction.
If we stand for what is right and true, we shall be protected and honored by Him before the Father in heaven. The liturgy today encourages us to be strong and not intimidated by the world or anybody in it, and have the courage to be loyal to the Lord and to seek his truth even when the world opposes it and seeks to silence it.
Today we need to ask ourselves:
- What am I doing to prevent evil and crush it and promote good?
- What am I doing to make a change in the world and make it a better place?
Prayer is certainly necessary, but we need more than prayer to change the world – some kind of action is necessary. The question is: “Are we willing to take the action necessary to make the changes?”
When we no longer sit on the sidelines and become more devoted to what our faith calls us to do – we will begin to change our environment – we will make a difference and the world will begin to change!
Today is Father’s Day. On this Father’s Day, Jesus summons each of you men to give of yourselves to your wife and children as Jesus gave himself to us on the Cross. A father’s influence remains with us for our entire life.
In this day and age, when we need hero’s to look – up – to, a good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and unappreciated hero’s in all mankind.
Today, don’t worry about getting a present for Dad; tell him that you love him! Tell him how much he means to you. Tell him now, because tomorrow it might be too late!