Call to worship
Jesus tells us not to be afraid, to speak the truth with clarity and light. There is nothing to fear. God, who has counted every hair on each of our heads, is intimately with us at every moment.
- To the point: Jesus tells the Twelve (and us) that acknowledging him and doing his work will not be easy. This mission ought not be undertaken lightly because there will be opposition. Neither, however, ought the mission be undertaken with trepidation because God does not abandon us. Forces will oppose this mission, but a promise of divine care will sustain us. Faithful disciples will be named in eternity.
- Connecting the Gospel (Matthew 10: 26-33) to the First Reading: Jesus’ words in the Gospel are particularized in the life of Jeremiah. Because he was faithful in proclaiming God’s word (he was persecuted, imprisoned, and threatened with death), Jeremiah was protected and sustained by God.
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: People give of themselves entirely and without fear in order to serve the greater good- for example, firefighters, police, Doctors without Borders, foreign missionaries, etc. The greatest good that we serve is the mission of Christ.
“Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem” (Rembrandt, 1630)
Though Jeremiah laments his depressed state and the terror he is experiencing, he also shows faith and trust in God’s help. Jesus reminds us to speak aloud what is in our darkness, not to be afraid, and to know that God, who loves us so intimately, who knows the count of each hair on our heads, is always there to hold us through every trial.
Explanation of Rembrandt painting
“Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid”.
God knows us better than we know ourselves;
loves every freckle and fiber of us.
God counts us worthy to spread the Word.
But we can’t breathe, Jesus.
We have no control of our climate,
wars, violence and racism.
“No fear,” you tell us!
You be our nerve and our backbone.
Help us stand up straight and proclaim your Word
in a loud voice to all the people,
in all the places, times and events of our lives.
The First Reading
“But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion.”
Terror, all around and rebuked
On every side, spoken out loud!
Jeremiah said to himself,
“Praise the Lord! Sing!”
O God of all hope,
when our lives come crashing around us,
when not one thing stays unhurt
let us hold on to just one hope:
trust in your mercy.
The Second Reading
“For if by the transgression of the one the many died,
how much more did the grace of God overflow for the many.”
The gift of grace, the life of Jesus,
overflows and roots out,
slashes to nothing,
all our transgressions.
Lord Jesus, let us all receive your grace.
Copyright © 2020, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection