Scripture: Lectionary: 459. Oct.4. Baruch 1:15-22. Psalm 79:1-2.3-5.8.9. Luke 10:13-16:
Somber tones of repentance press upon us today in the readings. Our hearts are in unison with the liturgical confession of Baruch, the confidant and secretary of the prophet Jeremiah who knows the most about contrition, sorrow, and repentance and preaches it with zeal. We may have some of the private journal of Jeremiah reflected in what Baruch shares with us in these four short chapters. We just get a nibble or a glimpse of their content today and tomorrow in our continuous reading in the liturgy.
The voices of Baruch, Jeremiah, the Psalmist and Jesus help us as we listen attentively to the word of the Lord in our Eucharistic liturgy of word and sacrament. The writing extends from a narrative that reflects the time of Jeremiah and goes down to the last sacred writings of the Old Testament with passages borrowed from Daniel and even Sirach. The Psalm reflects upon the same time of the lack of repentance after the Exodus down to the time of the rebuilding of the Temple which we have heard about this past week or two.
We join in the spirit of this liturgical confession at the beginning of our Mass and feel the message of Jeremiah, Baruch, and the Psalmist. The beauty of these Psalms and their responses is that they often reflect in a prayer and hymn what is being sensed, felt, and understood from the prophetic reading given to us as the first reading. Today the Psalm rings true to the spirit of Baruch’s prose prayer offered to us. We are not sin oriented but are trusting and hopeful in a loving and kind Lord who forgives us even before we ask to be forgiven. God is all merciful, loving, kind, and full of compassion.
Especially striking is the following verse from our Psalm 79: “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion come quickly to us, for we are brought very low.” (Psalm 79: 8). This is the thought behind Lamentations 5:7and is taught by Exodus 20:5. “Guilt is not transmitted, but results of wrong-doing are.”
A slice of spiritual reading would profit us by reading all four chapters of Baruch. They consist of a prose prayer, a wisdom reflection, and a song or hymn of consolation similar to those of the prophet Isaiah’s Servant Hymns. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.