Our commitment to Christ will be put to the test.
We will hear whispered warnings and denunciations, as Jeremiah does in the first reading. Even so-called friends will try to trap and trip us up.
For his sake we will bear insults and be made outcasts — even in our own homes, we hear in the psalm.
As Jeremiah tells us, we must expect that God will challenge our faith in him, and probe our minds and hearts, to test the depths of our love.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus assures us three times in the Gospel.
Though he may permit us to suffer for our faith, our Father will never forget or abandon us. As Jesus assures us, everything unfolds in his providence, under his watchful gaze — even the falling of the tiniest sparrow to the ground. Each one of us is precious to him.
Steadfast in this faith, we must resist the tactics of Satan. He is the enemy who seeks the ruin of our soul in Gehenna, or hell.
We are to seek God, as the psalmist says. Zeal for the Lord’s house, for the heavenly kingdom of the Father, should consume us, as it consumed Jesus (see John 2:17). As Jesus bore the insults of those who blasphemed God, so should we (see Romans 15:3).
By the gracious gift of himself, Jesus bore the transgressions of the world, Paul tells us in the epistle. In rising from the dead, he has shown us that God rescues the life of the poor, that he does not spurn his own when they are in need. In his great mercy, he will turn toward us, as well. He will deliver us from the power of the wicked.
That is why we proclaim his name from the housetops, as Jesus tells us. That is why we sing praise and offer thanksgiving in every Eucharist. We are confident in Jesus’ promise — that we who declare our faith in him before others will be remembered before our heavenly Father.
Scott Hahn is founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, stpaulcenter.com.