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Youth Ministry Resources - 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A: Matt 10:26-33 - Do not be afraid, I am with you - 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fear is certainly one of the central elements of today's Gospel and it is worth remembering that Matthew was writing for a Jewish community who had been ejected from the synagogue. Their whole frame of reference for understanding and practicing their faith had been removed and they were very fearful of persecution. So it was easier to speak of the teachings of Jesus "in the dark."

To proclaim Jesus as Messiah and to state publicly the teachings of the Reign of God was to invite persecution and possibly death.As Australians we are so blessed to live in an open tolerant society where freedom of religion is the norm. Most of us have not experienced persecution or faced the threat of death for our beliefs, so perhaps we are less likely to relate to the fear conveyed in this gospel. However, just as Christians in the First Century faced evil, we too are confronted by many facets of evil. The evil of abortion and the readiness to discard or experiment on human embryos is so common place today that it barely rates comment in the media. Such blatant disregard for human life is an evil each of us should speak out against.

Sexism and racism are also evils that are frequently disguised by humour and so our response to these jokes should not support the evil that strips a person of their dignity simply because of their gender or their race. These evils have been recognised by our governments who have legislated to protect all people yet many remain vulnerable today.

We cannot simply attend mass and then talk and live our faith "behind closed doors." The values and teachings of Jesus Christ should be proclaimed through every action we make in the secular world, Jesus asks us to be his witnesses and to live our faith in the public domain. This does not mean that we force our religion down the throats of those we work with or those we deal with in the neighbourhood. The way we live our life speaks for itself.

If we destroy people because we are living in fear and one way of controlling our lives is to destroy reputations or people's character, then Jesus warns that we will be disowned by God. If we cheat the government or authorities of their taxes or rules then again we risk damnation. We are called to live lives of love and Christian charity because we are so precious to God who knows every hair on our head, every comment we make, every witness we bear, everything…

Cate Mapstone

Year C: Lk 9:18-24 - 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Who do people say I am? Who do you say I am?" We may not have a brown eyed Jewish man staring intently at us as these questions are asked, but Jesus is asking us these exact questions. These are very serious questions for Australians to answer. Australia has been described as a very secular society, so who do people who live in a secular society say Jesus is? We might put one answer on an ABS census form, but how do we live the life of a person who ticked the box marked 'Catholic?' Peter's response was that Jesus was "the Christ of God." This term refers to the one who saves people from the forces of evil and yet Jesus then goes on to explain that he is one who will be killed by the forces of evil. Jesus gives himself another name - The Son of Man, the one who forgives sins, changes Sabbath regulations and speaks of the Reign of God and again, this is the one who will suffer, be rejected and be raised up. It is alright for us as post-resurrection people to contemplate this theology, but how on earth did the disciples grapple with this revelation as they lived with Jesus?

Jesus explains that we are to renounce ourselves (our selfish selves) and take up our cross every day and follow Jesus. Jesus is speaking about a mindset that is similar to his, a mindset that is focused on the Reign of God. We are to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the world, take up this cross, and work to bring about God's Reign. That is why Christians must be involved with those who are suffering, those who are forced to the margins, those who are considered less acceptable in our society. These are the very people Jesus sought out to be with, to heal and to teach about God's love. Jesus explained he had come to set the captives free - who are those around us who are captive? Captive to consumerism, to materialism, to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, to the opinions of others. Captive to a social system that keeps people poor, or a culture that oppresses women or refugees and limits the lifespan of indigenous people? "Who do you say I am?" …then go, everyday, and change your part of the world to reflect God's Reign.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time