12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
June 25, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









Grant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love your holy name,
for you never deprive of your guidance
those you set firm on the foundation of your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen. (RM)

First Reading Jeremiah 20:10–13 

Jeremiah said:

“I hear the whisperings of many:

  ‘Terror on every side!

  Denounce! let us denounce him!’

All those who were my friends

  are on the watch for any misstep of mine.

‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,

  and take our vengeance on him.’

But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion:

  my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.

In their failure they will be put to utter shame,

  to lasting, unforgettable confusion.

O Lord of hosts, you who test the just,

  who probe mind and heart,

let me witness the vengeance you take on them,

  for to you I have entrusted my cause.

Sing to the Lord,

  praise the Lord,

for he has rescued the life of the poor

  from the power of the wicked!”

 Responsorial Psalm Psalm 69:8–10, 14, 17, 33–35


R/. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

For your sake I bear insult,

  and shame covers my face.

I have become an outcast to my brothers,

  a stranger to my mother's children,

because zeal for your house consumes me,

  and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.


I pray to you, O Lord,

  for the time of your favor, O God!

In your great kindness answer me

  with your constant help.

Answer me, O Lord, for bounteous is your kindness;

  in your great mercy turn toward me.


“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;

  you who seek God, may your hearts revive!

For the Lord hears the poor,

  and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.

Let the heavens and the earth praise him,

  the seas and whatever moves in them!”

Second Reading Romans 5:12–15 

Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned— for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.  But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel Matthew 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. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Catena Nova

Wonder not that the whole world was ransomed; for it was no mere human being, but the only-begotten Son of God, who died on its behalf. Moreover one man’s sin, even Adam’s, had power to bring death to the world; but if by the trespass of the one death reigned over the world, how shall not life much rather reign by the righteousness of the One? And if because of the tree of food they were then east out of paradise, shall not believers now more easily enter into paradise because of the Tree of Jesus? If the first human formed out of the earth brought in universal death, shall not He who formed him out of the earth bring in eternal life, being Himself the Life? (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

God is not ignorant of anything that happensin creation, and if God loves us more truly than the best human father, and if God loves us so as to have numbered our very hairs, then we need not be afraid. Jesus said this not to indicate that God literally has a number placed on the very hairs of our head but rather to show that God has perfect knowledge ofeverything about us and providentially cares for everything about us. Therefore, if God both knows all things that happen to us and is able to save us and willing to do so, then whatever we may be suffering, we need not think that God has forsaken us in our suffering. For it is not God’s will to keep us whollyseparated from that which elicits dread but rather to persuade us not to make an idol out of whatever we dread. It is this, more than anything else, that constitutes deliverance from dread. “Therefore, don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.” Don’t you see that God views your fear with moreconcern than the lives of many sparrows? He already knows the secrets of your heart. Hence Jesus adds, “Do not fear.” For even if that which you dread prevails, it prevails only over your body; this is the limited part of yourself, which nature will surely take in due time and bring to an end. (St. John Chrysostom)

Do not say,“This happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.” In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance …. How many hairs are on your head?  God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing,  escapes the gaze of God?” (St. Basil the Great)

The martyrs who found themselves hard pressed, beset by danger from violent storms of hatred in this world, a danger not so much to their bodies which, after all, they would have to part with sometime, but rather to their faith. If they were to give way, if they should succumb either to the harsh tortures of their persecutors or to love of this present life, they would forfeit the reward promised them by the God who had taken away all ground for fear. Not only had he said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.” He had also left them his own example. The precept he had enjoined on them he personally carried out, without attempting to evade the hands of those who scourged him, the blows of those who struck him, or the spittle of those who spat on him. Neither the crown of thorns pressed into his head nor the cross to which the soldiers nailed him encountered any resistance from him. None of these torments did he try to avoid. Though he himself was under no obligation to suffer them, he endured them for those who were, making his own person a remedy for the sick. And so the martyrs suffered, but they would certainly have failed the test without the presence of him who said: “Know that I am with you always, until the end of time” (St. Augustine).

Arise, then, beloved of Christ! Imitate the dove that nests in a hole in the cliff [Cant. 2:14], keeping watch at the entrance like the sparrow that finds a home.  There like the turtledove hide your little ones, the fruit of your chaste love. Press your lips to the fountain, draw water from the wells of your Savior [Is. 12:3]; for this is the spring flowing out of the middle of paradise, dividing into four rivers, [Gen. 2:10] inundating devout hearts, watering the whole earth and making it fertile. Run with eager desire to this source of life and light, all you who are vowed to God’s service. Come, whoever you may be, and cry out to him with all the strength of your heart.  O indescribable beauty of the most high God and purest radiance of eternal light! Life that gives all life, light that is the source of every other light, preserving in everlasting splendor the myriad flames that have shone before the throne of your divinity from the dawn of time! Eternal and inaccessible fountain, clear and sweet stream flowing from a hidden spring, unseen by mortal eye! None can fathom your depths nor survey your boundaries, none can measure your breadth, nothing can sully your purity. From you flows the river which gladdens the city of God [Ps. 46:4] and makes us cry out with joy and thanksgiving in hymns of praise to you, for we know by our own experience that with you is the source of life, and in your light we see light [Ps. 36:9] (St. Bonaventure).

I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him, if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow, may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain! (St. John Henry Newman)

Too easily are we inclined to imagine that God created this world for a purpose. We are so caught up in purpose that we would feel more comfortable if God shared our preoccupation with work. But God plays. The birds in a single tree are sufficient proof that God did not set out with a divine no-nonsense attitude to make a creature that would perfectly achieve the purpose of a bird. What could that purpose be I wonder? There are titmice, juncos, and chickadees; woodpeckers, gold finches, starlings and crows. The only bird God never created is the no-nonsense bird. As we open our eyes and hearts to God's creation, we quickly perceive that God is playful, a God of leisure (Br. David Steindl-Rast).


Some people say he was duped Others say he was enticed Still others that he was seduced.   I’m talking about the prophet Jeremiah.  Three different translations of the Bible use three different words to describe his encounter with God.  You can take your pick.  But one thing’s for sure: Jeremiah was never the same.
Perhaps you've also had that kind of experience.  Of someone, or something, taking hold of you and changing you forever: perhaps an idea, or a cause, or a person with whom you’ve fallen hopelessly in love.  Human beings are given to such things.  Along comes a magic moment when you meet the object of your desire, and before you know it, passion’s ignited, imagination’s captured, thoughts are focused like never before, and well, you’ve been enticed! There’s no turning back and life will never be the same.
Just think of the many “isms” which changed the face of the earth in the Twentieth Century. Such is the seductive power of an idea.  Or consider the achievements of science and technology.  All fueled by a thirst for knowledge.  And of course, love still makes the world go round – like money -- leading to commitments that keep us together – or not.  Oh yes, we’re getting enticed all the time by things that overwhelm us.  It started in the Garden of Eden, says Genesis, when the first humans were duped, and sin came into the world (II) — that enticing fruit duping both Adam and Eve. 
Not all passions wreak havoc though.  Much of what entices us brings good to ourselves and to others.  Look at the greatest passion of all: the passion of Christ for the human race, which brought us the grace of God. . .the free gift. . .of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound[ing] for the many (II).  Which tells us something about what takes us in.  Unless our passions serve some cause beyond ourselves, sooner or later we’ll realize they leave us unfulfilled.  That truth was immortalized in the words of St. Augustine who finally confessed, after a life of pleasure and idle pursuits: “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you.” 
Or, if I may borrow Cardinal Newman’s voice from one of his sermons: “Let me ask anyone who has succeeded in any object of [their] desire, has he [or she] experienced in [their] success that full, lasting satisfaction which [they] anticipated? Did not some feeling of disappointment, of weariness, of satiety, of disquietude, after a short time, steal over [their] mind?.... No; the fact is certain, however slow and unwilling we may be to believe it, none of these things bring the pleasure which we beforehand suppose they will bring.”    
Jeremiah understood this.  When the word of the Lord came to him as a young man, the prophet knew nothing could ever grab him quite like that.  Oh sure, he resisted at first.  Throughout his career, he complained to God the burden was too heavy.  After all, who wants to spend their life telling people to repent of their sins, or else catastrophe will befall them?  There’s no reward in that.  As Jeremiah himself said: I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me…..All my close friends are watching for me to stumble (I). 
And yet, despite his problems, the prophet persevered.  For he knew nothing else could compare to being enticed by God.  He gave up wife and family, career and reputation, wealth and comfort, ‘cause he knew these things – all good things in themselves – are, still, less than God.  Only the Supreme Good can satisfy every longing of the human heart.  Infinite longing demanding infinite fulfillment only God can provide.  To quote Cardinal Newman once more: “And why is this? It is, in a word, because the soul was made for religious enjoyments and pleasures; and hence, no temporal blessings, however exalted or refined, can satisfy it” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, VII, 59-62, 72-73).  Or in Jesus’ simper terms: Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul….Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (G; Mt. 6:25).
Now maybe God hasn’t come calling on you to the same extent as Jeremiah.  Maybe his experience seems strange to us.  But that’s not because God hasn’t tried to entice us.  Problem is, life is filled with competing claims to our devotion.  So many other things dupe us, it’s difficult for God to get hold of us.  So, until we see lesser things in light of the greater, and reorder our priorities to reflect this, God will remain little more than an abstraction, whose passionate desire for us will beat like a distant drummer, and far from our lips will be Jeremiah’s claim: To you [O God] I have committed my cause (I).  Who lives and reigns, world without end.  Amen.

Intercessions (Mary Grace Melcher)

For the whole church, that we may go out to meet the inevitable reality of persecution on earth for the name of Jesus, because we have seen in advance the reward that our loyalty will bring us.

That those who work and suffer for life and for peace may refuse to be intimidated, but speak the truth with justice in the name of God.

For those who are feeling the pressure of divine testing in their lives as God probes their motives and their actions, that they may let themselves be converted.

That we may have the courage to acknowledge Jesus before others, so that He will recognize us before the face of His heavenly Father.

For those who are caught in abuse, neglect, illness; for the forgotten lowly ones who fall to the ground unnoticed like the sparrows, that they may be comforted by those who realize how precious they are in God’s sight.

For our faithful departed ones, that the grace of God and the gracious gift of Jesus Christ may overflow for them, purifying them and bringing them rejoicing into heaven.

True and faithful God, you give courage to the fearful and endurance to martyrs. Sustain us as followers of your Son Jesus,  that with boldness and conviction we may acknowledge him before the world.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn (Dan Schutte)


What you hear in the dark
you must speak in the light.
You are salt for the earth,
You are light for the world.

Let your light be seen:
Stand against the night.
Let your words of mercy tell
The glory of the Lord.

Earth shall pass away:
Heaven will be undone.
Never shall the word of God
Be broken or destroyed.

God will keep you safe;
See the sparrows that fly.
You are worth a world of sparrows
Sheltered, by the Lord.

Strengthen weary arms;
Steady all trembling knees.
Say to every fearful heart:
Have courage, trust in God.

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn (Text: Brian Wren; Tune: David Haas)

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with gladness, loving and birth, wonder and worth?
I'll sing from the heart, thankfully receiving, joyful in believing.

This is my song, I'll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with bleakness, empty and chill, breaking my will?
I'll sing through my pain, angrily or aching, crying or complaining.

This is my song, I'll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God and tell my Savior's story:
Passover bread, life from the dead?
I'll sing with my life, witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving.
This is my song, I'll sing it with love.