Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: July 28, Lectionary # 403. Jeremiah 15:10.16-21. Psalm
59:2-3.4.10-11.17.18. Matthew 13:44-46:
At times, Jeremiah sounds like St. Augustine in his “Confessions”.
Amazingly, this prophet is quite feisty with God in his complaints which
also resemble those of Job. He frets, has doubts, feels duped by God,etc.
God is always present to him despite this behavior on the part of the
whining prophet named Jeremiah. His name means the “Exalted of God” or
“God is exalted.” He will labor for God for forty years; we have more
information about him from his writings than from the rest of the prophets.
He was consecrated to God before his birth. These words of Browning fit
him well: “I was not born informed and fearless from the first, but shrank
from aught which marked me out apart from men: I would have lived their
life, and died after their death lost in their ranks, eluding destiny.” How
true for the prophet of grief, Jeremiah.
Jeremiah, of course, is so authentic in his response and relationship with
God that we are startled. We hear him saying this which shows he does
understand what a prophetic call is all about: “When I found your words, I
devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart.”
Matthew’s two parables are lived out by Jeremiah for he has found the words
of God as the pearl of great price and as a treasure hidden in the field.
God speaks often to Jeremiah and in our selection he consoles him. Jeremiah
thus offers us an alternative to our ordinary way of praying. He is
passionate and lets it flow from his heart and his bowels which are aflame
with daring, doubts about being duped by God, and just plain fed up with
what he is called to do, but he does it and displays how he comes to do
what God expects of him. Sometimes we need to change our way of praying
and to imitate and pray as Jeremiah did. Often we are at a loss for words
with God, or we are distracted, forgetful, and even bored with our manner
of praying. Jeremiah offers us another way to live in the presence of God.
We learn much about prayer from this complaining prophet who is faithful to
Our Psalm response and the verses we pray between the passage from Jeremiah
and the Gospel knits both readings together for us. The content and
imagery helps us to pray and to be persistent as was Jeremiah. We just
need to reread the selection for Jeremiah one more time and to do it slowly
in the presence of God.This could be our point of departure for a good
meditation and reflection on the words of God. As the response says, “God
is my refuge on the day of distress.” (Ps. Resp. v.17). Deliverance from
all sorts of evils and miseries is reassured for those who recite and sing
this psalm. Amen.