God the Only True Source of Hope

Jeremiah Chapter 20 verses 7 and 10 to 13.
Matthew Chapter 10 verses 26 to 33.

Jeremiah is often referred to as a prophet of doom. Warning, denouncing, condemning... He didn't water down the Word of God, nor did he attempt to make more palatable the demands of fidelity to God's Law.

In the midst of an excessively permissive society, his was indeed an unpopular voice crying out in the wilderness. Like John the Baptist years later, and like Pope John Paul today, the voice that calls us to sacrificial fidelity is not a popular one.

Today's first reading is in fact a prayer. It is a prayer uttered by a man who had tried his best to do the right thing - but was growing sick and tired of the constant ridicule and criticism to which he was subjected by those he served. The prophet Jeremiah was frustrated and depressed.

Like conscientious parents facing pressures created by their lax and indifferent counterparts, he struggled against priests and elders who simply said what they thought would be well received by the king and other influential people.

Like the youth who places personal integrity above the whimsical demands of a sub-culture, Jeremiah was bound to be ridiculed and maligned.

He didn't find it easy! His prayer was, then, the prayer of an honest, frustrated human being. It was a prayer, which reflected his strengths and his weaknesses - his real situation - his real anxieties and disillusionments. However, he recognized the poverty of his own resources and because of this he was able to conclude his prayer on a note of faith and hope - "God, you are at my side... I have committed my cause to you!"

The lesson here is that it is only when we face the reality of our human limitations that we can truly place our hope and trust in the wisdom and justice of God. So it was with the great prophet Jeremiah and so it was, even, with Jesus - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", and then, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."

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