The first reading for Mass today, the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time, comes from the prophet Jeremiah.
In the days of Josiah, the word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying:
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.
‘So now brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them
all I command you.
Do not be dismayed at their presence,
or in their presence I will make you dismayed.
‘I, for my part, today will make you
into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron,
and a wall of bronze
to confront all this land:
the kings of Judah, its princes,
its priests and the country people.
They will fight against you
but shall not overcome you,
for I am with you to deliver you –
it is the Lord who speaks.’
The prophet receives the word of the Lord that reminds of Israel’s and thus the prophet’s vocation and calling, to be the chosen people, faithful to God, a witness to the nations.
The first reading prepares us for the Gospel in which Israel in Nazareth refuses its calling and rebels against its calling, and its God.
The first reading also prepares us to contemplate the vocation of God in the flesh, strong in his witness, and even in death triumphant in his faithful love.
- When/how do you rely on the strength of the Lord?
- For what do you hope in him?
Detail of Door of St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.