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Sunday, June 23, 1996

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12th Sunday Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 69
Romans 5:12-15
Matthew 10:26-33

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fear not

"Do not be afraid of anything." —Matthew 10:31

Our reaction to fear will be among the best or worst aspects of our lives. We will either let ourselves be manipulated by fear into sinful compromises and eventual damnation, or we will refuse to be controlled by fear and eventually push it out of our lives (see 1 Jn 4:18). Therefore, Jesus repeatedly commands us: "Do not let them intimidate you" (Mt 10:26). "Do not fear those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul" (Mt 10:28). "Do not be afraid of anything" (Mt 10:31).

Our response to fear should be faith. Jesus told Jairus after his daughter died: "Fear is useless, only believe" (Mk 5:36, our transl.). When his friends had turned against him in vengeance, Jeremiah had the faith to fearlessly proclaim: "The Lord is with me, like a mighty Champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph" (Jer 20:11). Even when we are enduring our own agony in the garden or suffering on our own Calvary, by faith we can refuse to be manipulated by fear. We can "say with confidence: 'The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?' " (Heb 13:6) By faith we can proclaim: "The Lord is my life's Refuge; of whom should I be afraid?...Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear" (Ps 27:1, 3). Fear not.

Prayer:  Father, may my awareness that You are in me make me fearless. May Your love push fear out of my life (see 1 Jn 4:18).

Promise:  "For if by the offense of the one man all died, much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound for all." —Rm 5:15

Praise:  Alleluia! Jesus has risen from the dead and will raise from the dead those who believe in Him (Jn 11:26). Alleluia forever!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1995

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 4, 1995