Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The author C. S. Lewis wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters.[1] Screwtape is a devil, a very accomplished devil, and he turns people away from God. By his letters, Screwtape gives advice to Wormwood. Wormwood is young, just learning the deceptive ways of devils[2].

In one letter, Screwtape writes to Wormwood, "keep them anxious, make certain they are worried about something; remind people about their fears.". Why this advice? Well, being a devil, Screwtape wants to get people so focused on their fears that they forget about God.

Fear Can Block Out God.

Fear can cripple us, fear can wipe out hope, and fear can frustrate good reason. In the Gospel Jesus told us, do not be afraid. Have courage. Live a life of devoted faith. We certainly have good examples of people with courage. In our first reading, the prophet Jeremiah denounced recreational sex. He took the rich to task for exploiting the poor. He told people to quite worshiping pagan idols.

More in our time, Mother Teresa of Calcutta showed courage. She had the bravery to step into the desperate poverty of Calcutta. One day, she is living in a comfortable convent. She was a teacher, surrounded by the clean, bright faces of students. Next day, Mother Teresa picked up a nameless derelict, dying on the streets, an untouchable with a filthy, diseased body no one would go near. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid," and Mother Teresa began her journey to sainthood.

We have wonderful examples of courage. The prophet Jeremiah, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Benedict XVI. Each spoke and acted without fear. They lived fully the faith they professed.

So too, Christ calls us to be witnesses to our faith. How?

First, we must not be afraid to live our faith. Some people will not listen to talk about Christ, others will mock us, still other people will argue with us. No matter.

Second, do not worry about what other people think. Simply tell the truth, that we love God, that we try to do what God wants us to do. Do not be anxious about whether the other person is convinced or not. That's God's concern. Our task is to tell other people we are Christians, and to show we follow Christ by what we say and what we do.

Then, third, when we bear witness, we must speak out of our own experiences. We need to tell of the thrill, the feeling of fulfillment we have when we do our ministry.

Everyone who prays before the Blessed Sacrament an hour a week speaks of that hour becoming the most meaningful hour of the week. A quiet hour to share with God both our good news and the difficult moments of the week and to feel God's care envelop us with love.

Everyday our Lord tells us to witness to our faith. To speak out, to live the God-centered life, to tell others how God becomes a firm foundation for a wonderful life.

We should live like a Christians. Don't be afraid, and remember: the rewards are heavenly, and they're for all eternity ■

[1] Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis (1898-1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis, was an Irish writer and scholar. Lewis's works are diverse and include medieval literature, Christian apologetics, literary criticism, radio broadcasts, essays on Christianity, and fiction relating to the fight between good and evil. Examples of Lewis's fiction include The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy. Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. Both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at about the age of 30, Lewis re-converted to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England" (Lewis 1952, p. 6). His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. Later in his life he married the American writer Joy Gresham, who died of bone cancer four years later at the age of 45.
[2] Sunday 22nd June, 2008; 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. St Paulinus of Nola; Ss John Fisher & Thomas More. Jeremiah 20:10-13. Lord, in your great love, answer me—Ps 68(69):8-10, 14, 17, 33-35. Romans 5:12-15. Matthew 10:26-33.

Ilustration: Pablo Picasso, Young Girl Struck by Sadness (1939) Oil on canvas.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris