Year A: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10-13
If the disciples wanted an example of what proclaiming the Kingdom was likely to involve, they could probably do worse than look at the life of Jeremiah. He did not choose to be a prophet - he did not want to be a prophet and he hated being a prophet. But, as he found over and over again, the Word of God was like a fire inside him that refused to be quenched.
He spoke the Word - and suffered the consequences - even his friends turned against him and he was left isolated with no-one to turn to except God. The disciples - and the community to whom Matthew was writing would themselves experience similar misunderstanding by those closest to them. They would have known that people were just waiting for them to make a mistake so that they could gloat over their downfall.
It must often have felt like walking a tightrope over a pack of lions!
Such a tightrope-walk requires great trust in God - that they will not be allowed to fall - and that those who are persecuting and waiting in wait will be dealt with by the God of justice - who sees the truth in people’s hearts and knows their motives.
Jeremiah is not afraid to speak his mind to God - to complain about the unfairness of it all - but his plain-speaking is possible because of a deep conviction that God is on the side of truth and will vindicate him.
It is a relationship of trust and honesty. Jeremiah does not have to pretend with God. God has given Jeremiah a hard mission - and Jeremiah fully expects God to fulfil His part of the deal. He will speak the words God gives him and accept (as best he can!) the suffering and misunderstanding that go with it. But, Jeremiah was confident that, one day, God would show Himself and claim Him as His own.
What does it mean for me?
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