Faith and Family

Faith and Family for June 21: Courage Under Persecution

READ

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.

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UNDERSTAND

by Father Dan Kroger, OFM

The focus of this week’s Scripture readings is Jeremiah—attacked by the religious leaders of his time, and Jesus’ teaching about enduring persecution. Both Jeremiah and Jesus faced deadly opposition from their own people. Their words encourage us to stand firm if we are attacked for living our faith.

Do you face opposition when you express your faith? Do your good actions lead others to criticize you or make harsh comments against you? If so, the example of Jeremiah and the teaching of Jesus might give you courage and hope when you face problems in your life.

Consider how the COVID-19 epidemic caused major problems in our lives. We all face difficulties of various sorts—sickness, the death of loved ones, job issues, marital issues. How are we reacting?

The witness of Jeremiah and the teachings of Jesus should be a challenge for us to keep moving ahead in our lives of faith. What will you do in the days ahead?

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DISCUSS

by Father Dan Kroger, OFM

• In the first reading (Jer 20:10-13), Jeremiah expresses his fears and doubts. Why is he afraid of his former friends?

Upon whom does Jeremiah rely? Who can rescue him in his time of need?

• Paul expresses, in the second reading (Rom 5:12-15), his belief about sin: “Sin reigned from Adam to Moses.” Who is Adam? What did he do that brought sin into the world?

How does the gift of God’s grace and the love of Jesus Christ change things for everyone?

• In this week’s Gospel (Mt 10:26-33), Jesus urges his followers—and us—to be courageous and face danger and be bold in living our faith. Do you really place your trust in God’s mercy?

Jesus reminds us that “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” Have you ever tried to count the hair on your head? God knows us so well that we have every reason to trust in his great mercy.

ACT

by Susan Hines-Brigger

• What are some of your fears? Identify one and then see if there is something you can do to try and overcome that fear.

• Want a big challenge? Take a section of your hair and see how many hairs you can count.

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