Scripture: Lectionary 404. Jeremiah 18:1-6. Psalm 146:1-2.2-4.5-6.5b.
Jeremiah gives us a good lesson in humility today. We all can use
that type of help in a difficult virtue that takes us out of our
“persona” look and puts us into the transparency of God’s Person
working within our hearts. Jeremiah learns from God that the image of
a potter working with clay is a good way of seeing ourselves as we
truly are. We all come from the Creator who took us from the clay of
the earth (Adamah is the red clay characteristic of the Middle
East—and of red mud around the airport around Atlanta!).(cf. Genesis
2:7,19). Sophisticated, as we are, we think anthropomorphically when
it comes to imaging God. So Jeremiah is able to help us by putting
things in perspective and showing us that we are similar to the clay
in the hands of a potter. When we make mistakes and sluff off through
our pride, the potter just removes that excess mass of clay and makes
us anew through the grace of his artistry. Genesis has grounded us
literally in the dirt and clay from which we are made. Saint Paul
confirms this by telling us we are “vessels of clay” or earthen
vessels.(II Cor. 4:7; Romans 9:21). Humility hurts but it does make us
new again in God’s sight. God is the maker and we are the clay
according to the inspired words of Jeremiah.
Jesus uses picturesque language and imagery to bring home a different
lesson for us today than the one Jeremiah has shared with us. The
Kingdom of God is likened to a large net cast into the sea which
brings all sorts of aquatic creatures into its far reaching web. All
of us belong in that net, but not all are chosen because of the
condition in which we are found upon examination by the one who cast
the net. Being accepted consists in whether we are good; not being
selected means we need to go back into the sea and grow some more and
become healthy for the next casting.
These parables are not simply lessons or teachings. Parables open up
for us the revelation of the divine plan of salvation meant for all.
We listen to the great Evangelist who has gathered the parables
together in this wonderful chapter 13 of the Third Great Discourse of
Jesus. We may see in the image of the scribe who brings things out of
his treasures new things together with old things. This scribe named
Matthew gives us a masterpiece that helps us to discern and discover
the understanding of the parables of Jesus which are the keys to God’s
revelatory and salving words and plans for us. We are fortunate that
Matthew leads us to this discovery and we become agents in the
bringing about the kingdom of God in the here and now. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.