June 25, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace be with all of you! As we embark on the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time, the Scripture readings for this Sunday urge us to place our trust in God’s providence and find courage in the face of adversity. I would like to offer you a heartfelt reflection on the theme of resilience and trust, drawing inspiration from the Word of God.

The passage from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:10-13) presents us with a powerful story of the prophet Jeremiah’s unwavering faith amidst trials. Despite encountering opposition and persecution, Jeremiah remained steadfast in his mission to proclaim God’s message. The prophet’s resilience serves as an enduring inspiration for all of us to hold firm to our faith, even when inconveniences, opposition, or discouragement arise.

In the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 10:26-33), Jesus encourages his disciples not to be fearful of the hardships they may face in life and ministry, assuring them of their Heavenly Father’s deep care. Today, this message resonates with us as we confront our own challenges and uncertainties. Our faith beckons us to trust in God’s providence, even when the path ahead appears unclear.

Contemplating these readings, I am reminded of my father’s incredible story—a man of unwavering faith amidst unimaginable trials. From enduring poverty, exile, and imprisonment under a hostile communist regime to rebuilding his life as a political refugee in the United States, he faced adversity with resolute trust in God. Even when stricken by the coronavirus that ultimately claimed his life two years ago, he consoled me with his words, “Have no fear, my son, trust in God. Nothing is beyond His plan!” My father’s unwavering trust in God during times of adversity serves as a powerful inspiration for me and my entire family. It serves as a reminder that even in the darkest moments, we can find strength and hope through our faith.

Now, how do we practically apply the lessons of resilience and trust in our lives, especially when we face adverse circumstances that seem beyond our control and lack apparent meaning? Allow me to offer a few practical suggestions based on my personal experiences with my father:

  1. Prayerful Surrender: In moments of difficulty, surrender your worries and fears to God through heartfelt prayer. Trust that He is in control and has a perfect plan for your life. Embrace the words of the Psalmist: “The Lord upholds my life!” (Psalm 54:4).
  2. Seek Support: Lean on the support of our family and faith community. Engage with your family members, relatives, friends, coworkers, and fellow parishioners. Share both your joys and struggles, finding encouragement and solace in one another’s presence.
  3. Cultivate Gratitude and Joy: Foster an attitude of gratitude, even in the midst of challenges. Seek out moments of beauty and blessings, embracing each day as a precious gift from God.
  4. Serve Others: By reaching out to those in need, you will discover the transformative power of selfless acts of love. Extend compassion, kindness, and support to those around you, fostering resilience and trust in God’s boundless love.

Dear brothers and sisters, if any one of you is finding yourself in doubt, overwhelmed by life’s troubles, or tempted to let go of your faith at this time, I pray that the theme of this Sunday’s readings, along with the remarkable examples of individuals like my father, resonates deeply within you. May it motivate you to continue trusting in God. Remember, the Lord upholds our lives. May this truth anchor us during times when our faith is tested.

With heartfelt prayers and abundant blessings,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham