Speak Lord: My protector

Prophet Louvres.jpg

 

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me,
‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we will master him and take our revenge!’

But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered,
confounded by their failure;
everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Jeremiah 20:10-13

The First reading at Mass today comes from the prophet of Jeremiah and tells both of his trials and persecution, and, especially, of his trust in the Lord who is his protector, even as he endures hurt and harm.

The hurt and harm is passing. The Lord will sustain him in this, and deliver him into newness of life; where love and care and security will be his; where his faithfulness, achieved at his cost and with God’s help, will meet with reward.

Jeremiah prays for his opponents to stumble, be thwarted and disgraced. It is understandable…. But the teaching of the Gospel moves us beyond that desire for revenge and ‘satisfaction’.

In the love of God made known in Christ, we are to learn to love our enemies too. We are called to victory with God, and for all peoples.

Prophet. Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Our strength, our hope.

Strength, St IsaacThe 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.’

Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19

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.

Taste and See: Hope born afresh

Jeremiah French Church

At a time when it is darker and colder and wetter, the Lord speaks of new life and hope..

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
The-Lord-our-integrity.’

Jeremiah 33:14-16

 

Where in your life – or the lives of those around you – is hope most lacking?

What in the Gospel helps restore a realistic hope?

How might you and others play your part in bringing that hope founded on the Gospel to fulfilment?

Jeremiah from the French Church, Leicester Square, London.  (c) 2007, Allen Morris