Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020

Deacon Blaine Barclay


Listen to the way the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah starts out. “I hear many whispering, ‘Terror is all around!’” Jeremiah is afraid. There is perhaps a parallel here for us. We live in what seem to be unprecedented times. Covid19, social distancing, civil unrest, the polarized rhetoric of division, the post CoVid threat of global food shortages looming on the horizon. Conspiracy theories everywhere. We can also say, “I hear many whispering, (especially if we pay too much attention to the Babel of voices on social media), “Terror is all around”. It is easy to allow our hearts to be colonized by the culture of fear that surrounds us.

As in the time of Jeremiah, this is a time of the testing of the heart and the mind of those who seek integrity and justice. Where do we put our trust? Who will deliver us?

The solutions may seem hidden and secret, we can’t make sense of them. But our gospel today assures us, ‘the hidden will be made manifest, the covered up uncovered, the secret made known’. God in Christ will unravel all the knots. Our gospel begins with the words, “Fear no one”, and continues with the words, “So do not be afraid”. Along the way we are reminded that God is not just in the big sweep of salvation history, God is in the details. The tiny sparrow that falls, the number of hairs on your head. In the Incarnation, God in Christ has embraced our humanity right down to the nitty gritty of our fears and our anxieties, when we cry out “Terror is all around”. God knows what it is like to be us, from the inside. How did St. Augustine put it, “God, you are closer to me than I am to myself”. Another translation puts it, “More inward to me than my own interiority”. And in this intimate embrace of our flesh and our inwardness, we are given the gift of fearlessness. “So, do not be afraid, you are of more value than many sparrows”.