Do not be afraid. I do not know how many times this phrase, or phrases like it are in the bible, but according to one source it is 70. I do not know whether this is true, but I do know that time and again the bible encourages us not to be afraid.
You warned me God. You still warn me. You let me know time and again how important it is to listen to you. But I do not. I turn away. I sin.
Today we recall the great truth about our God. Three persons. One God. Trinity. And there is no point trying to explain it. We only know this truth about God because God revealed it to us.
I remember a homily one time where the priest said something like this: “If the gospel does not make you uncomfortable at times, then perhaps you have never heard the gospel.”
There may not be many of you who know Saint Peter of Verona, sometimes called Saint Peter Martyr. He is no longer celebrated in the Church calendar, but the Dominican Order still celebrates him on their calendar, and his feast day is today, June 4.
The challenges of the gospel are bold. The way of life demanded of us if we are to follow Jesus are not easy. And becoming a follower of Jesus requires that we are “all in”, that is, that we dedicate our lives in imitation of his.
It does not take long as a teacher to discover when you are being set up. While I do not have children of my own, I suspect it is the same for parents and their children too. For teachers it shows itself when a student asks you what you think of their essay. You know instinctively they did not get the grade they expected. For parents I am guessing it is embodied in lines like, “Well Mom said” or “Dad said”.
Genesis 3:15 is sometimes referred to as the “protogospel”. That is, the first gospel. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” In other words, this is the first promise of a redeemer. And this promise tells us the redeemer will be an offspring of the woman, of Mary, the Mother of God.
At the end of Saint Matthew’s gospel is the Great Commission: Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. And in Saint John’s gospel we learn the way in which this is possible. Jesus sends us forth, all of us with the breath of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Paul is the victim of injustice. Held by the Romans, for charges brought by the Jewish leadership. Charges brought about because of fear and jealousy. Even the miraculous deeds performed in their sight does not counter the worst of human emotions.