Scripture: Lectionary 402. Jeremiah 14:17-22. Psalm 97:126.96.36.199. Matthew 13:35-43
Jeremiah is not one to hide his feelings. He shares his intimate prayer to God with us and even sheds tears while praying for his beloved Zion (Jerusalem) and its people. He is totally human in all dimensions and his call as a prophet is fully lived out despite his complaints about it to the Lord. His prayer today seems to me to be similar to some of the lamentation psalms; he may even have created some of them for we see that Psalm 1 has many of his own words in the imagery used within it.
His prayer centers on his appeal to God who has made an everlasting covenant of love for his people, yet here we see the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) in great straits and ruins. Who alone can help Zion but God! God alone can deliver the people from exile, hunger, discouragement, and desolation. This leads us into the Psalm which is a perfect reflection similar to the contents of Jeremiah’s prayer.
Psalm 79 asks in the refrain: “For the glory of your name, deliver us, O Lord.” (Ps.79:9). The fresh memories of the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile into Babylon come to the fore. The descriptions and the defilement of the holy places and the Temple in Jerusalem are bewailed. This psalm is one of the more graphic and vivid ones in the Psalter. We are led to pray and cry out with the Psalmist and Jeremiah: “Remember not against us the iniquities of our forefathers. Let thy compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.”
Jesus continues to explain another parable, that of the tares (bad seeds that grow into green weeds used for manure; weeds tangle and grow with the wheat). Jesus directs the point of the parable to the final or end time. The Messiah will be the one to rescue the wheat.
Only Matthew has this parable and it fits in with his theme of the Kingdom of God which ultimately will win out over all that is evil. The righteous are those who understand the parable.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.