Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Homily 12th Sunday of the Year 22 June 2008

Throughout his papacy, Pope John Paul the Great
preached in churches, stadiums, and arenas throughout the world
and he consistently offered one brief, yet powerful message.

It was his most famous sound bite and the clarion call of his “New Evangelization.”
“Be not afraid!”

John Paul II was a man who lived through war, persecution, and poverty
and persevered in following the Lord’s call to priesthood.
There was much he could have feared…
and yet his relationship with the Lord was so deep and so authentic
that he lived and spoke with conviction
the Lord’s words in today’s Gospel: “Do not be afraid!”

Traumatic and difficult moments…
death, terminal illness, devastation and natural disaster…
often leave us speechless…or worse…reduce us to platitudes.

We foolishly say to people…imagining that we’re comforting them…
“Oh, don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. It’ll turn out all right.”
…when in reality we have no idea what they’re feeling
or what will happen in the end.
How often we casually tell people not to worry and not to be afraid.

Yet, that is precisely what Jesus says in today’s Gospel: “Do not be afraid!”
The essential and life-transforming difference
between our platitudes and Jesus’ command
is that the words of Jesus Christ…the Word of God…
have the power to accomplish what they signify!

John Paul II knew this intimately and he spoke with love and certainty
because He was absolutely convinced that being united to Christ
gives us the power never to fear again.

Jesus does not speak mere human words.
Rather, He enters our lives…and in Him we overcome all fear and anxiety.

Jesus’ teaching amounts to far more than cheap advice.
For each time Jesus mentions fear in this Gospel,
at the same time He makes reference to Himself or our Heavenly Father.
The remedy for earthly fear is entering into total union with God.

In today’s Gospel, the presence and wisdom of Jesus dispel three fears.

The first is the fear of our secret selves, and our past and hidden sins.
In most people’s lives, there is something hidden,
some paralyzing evil we struggle to keep concealed in the darkness,
some addiction or suffering of which we cannot bear to speak.

We are afraid what someone may think of us, or do to us…if they know.
All the while, we must remember that nothing is hidden from God
and all will be revealed on the day of judgment.
Sins we have foolishly feared to bring into the light in the Sacrament of Penance
will eventually be made manifest in purgatory.

Jesus calls us to have courage and come to confession regularly…
to confront the truth about ourselves and bring our dark side into the light…
so that we may be forgiven by Christ
and through the ministry of the Church
find the resources and the grace to live in peace and joy,
free from fear and the shackles of our hidden self.

Knowing the infinite love and mercy that awaits us…
we should run to the confessional…
for Jesus comes to free us from anxiety and bring us new life!

Second, there is the fear we often have about sickness and .
As we see other people…either family and friends or people in the news…
enduring serious sickness, surgery, or dying young or unexpectedly…
what we see in others can create anxiety within us.

Sickness comes to many…and comes to us all.
Yet, through every challenge of life…and in the passage from this life…
the presence of God’s providential care envelops and sustains us.
We need not fear anything that attacks our bodies…
for Christ has triumphed over
and God is more powerful than every disease…and even the sting of !

Even when God allows us to experience suffering, it is for some good purpose.
And all the while, He who knows and counts even the hairs of our head
walks the journey of life with us…
giving us grace to overcome details of life
over which we would without Him be powerless.

Jesus calls us to entrust every day, every decision, every moment of trial
into the loving hands of our Heavenly Father…
for His will is always best for us.
Give everything to God…and His care for us will never fail!

Third, there is the fear related to our self-worth.
The world tells us that we are only worth something based on what we have,
what we have accomplished, or what academic degrees we can boast of.

Jesus reminds us that, in God’s eyes, we are worth more than many sparrows…
more than all the gold and precious jewels in the world…
more than all the treasures of the Vatican and the money in Fort Knox

Our value in God’s sight is not based on what we possess or what we have done
but who we are…
creatures loved into being by God and sealed with His image.

What is more…God is not pleased with us
because of our money, possessions, and worldly success.
He is pleased with us when we study and share our faith…
remain committed to constant prayer…and love unconditionally.
It is in the fulfillment of our sacred duties that God delights in His people!
Christ comes to calm our fears and to offer us a sure remedy for every anxiety.

Confident in God’s loving and never-failing care,
we find the strength in our daily lives to live the words of Jesus:
“I am with you…Do not ever be afraid!”

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