Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
August 5, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a beautiful pastoral segment from Jeremiah. This Responsorial Psalm follows on the first reading, both passages affirming God’s everlasting love for us.
Jeremiah wrote at a time of great suffering and confusion for Israel. The Kingdom was falling apart, having been beset by overwhelming enemies. Near the end of Jeremiah’s life, the nation falls into the Babylonian Captivity. Much of the Book of Jeremiah prophesies, judges, and laments these troubles.
But today’s verses come from Chapters 30 – 33, part ofJeremiah often referred to as the “Book of Comfort” or “Little Book of Consolation.” These are the brighter and more hopeful chapters of an otherwise heavy set of writings.
Moreover, these three chapters speak to a significant shift in understanding God’s relationship with Israel. The original covenant with Abraham is stated in conditional terms- “You will be my People and I will be your God”. I hate to use the now sullied term, but it was sort of a “quid pro quo”.
The renewed covenant described in Jeremiah is an unconditional relationship sustained, despite Israel’s weaknesses, by a Divine and Everlasting Love, by the Good Shepherd:
As Israel comes forward to be given his rest,
the LORD appears to him from afar:
With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.
As we look over our lives past and present, we can pray in gratitude that we are embraced by the same Ancient and Everlasting Love.
Probably each of us has had a few personal little “Babylons”. We may even have had some of our personal “temples” destroyed. You know, those self-absorbed campaigns and petty addictions that distract us from the sacred essence of our life that:
We are God’s Love made flesh,
called to live in that Truth.
Video Poem: Three Poems from Rilke’s Book of Hours
Music: This Ancient Love – Carolyn McDade