Scripture: Lectionary # 256: Jeremiah 20:10-13. Psalm 18:2-3.3-4.5-6.7.
We sense the tension that is building up between Jesus and the religious
leaders. All is taking place near the Temple, the most sacred place in
Jerusalem. We feel his last days are near; he is approaching his death on
the cross. If stones are already being prepared to strike Jesus, the way
of the cross is not far off. Our own Lenten journey is similar as we
follow more closely the Scriptures and realize that we are nearing the last
dozen days before this sacred season ends.
The Gospels will help us to follow almost day by day the last seven days of
his life. John continues to be our Gospel for this latter part of Lent. We
want to be more closely united with Jesus in prayer and meditation. We have
come this far in Lent and we do not want to leave the Lord alone in our way
of the cross with him.
Jeremiah who certainly has much in common with Jesus in his being
persecuted and threatened with death by those in power in the kingdom. The
Lord is with him just as Jesus and the Father are united in the plan of
salvation. Jesus has come to do the will of the Father and he will do it
till his last breath. Jeremiah has the same intention in his covenantal
love for God. He too will endure his most difficult days even those that
lead him into exile.
The Psalm also has strains of the same tension and threat that faces both
Jesus and Jeremiah. “In my distress I called upon the Lord and cried out
to my God; from his temple he heard my cry to him and has reached his
ears.” We are edified by this spirit of doing the will of God and
persevering till the end. We therefore renew our own commitment of trust,
belief, and love for Jesus in his sufferings and death. We unite ourselves
to the conviction of St. Paul, ” For me to live is Christ.” Amen.
Scripture for Saturday, April 16. Lectionary 257: Ezekiel 37:21-28.
Jeremiah 31:10.11-12.13. John 11:45-57:
Ezekiel gives us one of the most beautiful expressions of what a covenant
with God is in today’s first reading from the priestly prophet. It is this
covenant that brings about unity and peace among the Israelites and gives
us the same message as followers of the Lord Jesus. In reading it in the
light of our belief in Jesus who was always united in his will with that of
the Father, we take courage and continue on with our Lenten journey and its
prayer practices. We hear the covenant expressed in these simple profound
words: “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
We see that Ezekiel mentions David twice in his covenant description and
sees the more youthful image of the King in his former calling as a
shepherd. The same theme is seen in our Psalm for our daily reflection in
the prayer mode of the psalms that act in our hearts between the other two
readings each day.
We are startled by the fact that the high priest Caiphas prophesies about
the role of Jesus without realizing how his statement is true in the
history of salvation and not only in the history of the time of Caiphas. He
shows that Jesus death will save the nation! John tells us, “He did not say
this on his own. It was rather as high priest for that year that he
prophesied that Jesus would do this for the nation–and not for this nation
only but to gather all into one all the dispersed children of God.” We are
part of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Jesus total giving of himself by
his death on the cross is for each one of us and for everyone who ever
existed or will exist. The last Passover of Jesus nears and we, too, are
called to enter into the mysteries of Passover with Jesus our Lord, our
Shepherd, our Savior. Amen.