Theme of the Sunday: Persecution. This is the theme that binds together all three readings. The light of God disturbs those who prefer to live in darkness and they inevitably react by opposition. Persecution often troubled the lives of the prophets. The first reading reminds us of the prophet Jeremiah. In the gospel Jesus says that persecution is a kind of cloak that his disciples will have to wear if they are to be firm in their beliefs. The second reading compares Adam with Christ and confirms that in the struggle between good and evil, good will always triumph.

Entrance Antiphon cf. Ps 27:8-9
The Lord is the strength of his people, a saving refuge for the one he has anointed. Save your people, Lord, and bless your heritage, and govern them forever.

Collect
Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love. Through our Lord…

FIRST READING
“He has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.”
A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20: 10-13)

Jeremiah said: I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my familiar friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived, then we can overcome him, and take our ‘revenge on him.” But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonour will never be forgotten. O Lord Of hosts, who test the righteous, who see the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 69:7-9.13 and 16.32-34 (R. 13c)
R/. In your great mercy, answer me, O Lord.

It is for you that I suffer taunts,
that shame has covered my face.
To my own kin I have become an outcast,
a stranger to the children of my mother.
Zeal for your house consumes me,
and taunts against you fall on me. R.

But I pray to you, O Lord,
for a time of your favour.
In your great mercy, answer me, O God,
with your salvation that never fails.
Lord, answer, for your mercy is kind;
in your great compassion, turn towards me. R.

R/. In your great mercy, answer me, O Lord.

The poor when they see it will be glad,
and God-seeking hearts will revive;
for the Lord listens to the needy,
and does not spurn his own in their chains.
Let the heavens and the earth give him praise,
the seas and everything that moves in them. R.

SECOND READING
God’s free gift to us is nothing like our trespass against him.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 5:12-15)

Brethren: As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned—sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where .there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA John 15:26b.27a
Alleluia. The Spirit of truth will bear witness to me, says the Lord; and you also are witnesses. Alleluia.

Gospel
Do not fear those who kill the body
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 10:26-33)

At that time: Jesus said to his apostles, “Have no fear of men; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

Human being is the crown of God’s creation. The love with which God created us, and our uniqueness and worth are something beyond human comprehension. Saint John tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal live” (3:16). What makes us so precious to God to the extent of sacrificing his only Son is not immediately known to us except that he loves us unconditionally. God is so personal to us that he tells us in today’s gospel that “even the hairs of your head are all counted”.

When we deviate from God’s love we are filled with fear. Our first parents succumbed to the temptation of becoming equal to God but, instead, realized that they were naked. Sin is our nakedness before God and through sin we alienate ourselves from God and others. fear is a snare that traps and entangles us, keeping us off the path we are called to pursue. Saint John tells us that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath” (3:36). He also assures us that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not reached the perfection in love” (1 Jn 4:18)

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