Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday: Those Challenging Prophets

The first reading (Jeremiah 14:17-22) continues the prophet's pain as he considers the destruction of what had been so great a land, a kingdom.  He shares his grief following the destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar during the reign of of King Jehoiachim who was driven into exile.  The prophet agonizes over the "guilt of our fathers" as well that "we have sinned against you (Yahweh)."  He says clearly "We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead."

A question can be put forward to us today:  "Do these words have any treasure fur us?  Jeremiah bemoans with Yahweh the "Prophets: who seem to have captured the hearts of the Judean nation with teaching and practices contrary to the laws of the Commandments and the Book of Laws (Deuteronomy) as well as the prophesies of other prophets who remained true to Yahweh.

Surely we can ask ourselves:  "Do we ever find our hearts, our souls, being tossed about, overwhelmed by distraction, frustration and a sense that God has little care for us?

Jeremiah's oracles invite us to look carefully at how we live our lives; how we direct who we are and what we are with the guidance of both Old and New Testament writings and the teachings of our Church.

Often in these posting over the last few years, you have come upon the word "challenge."  Some friends, lovingly of course, tease with "How's Father Challenge today?"  Challenge is so needed in our culture today.  Societal changes seem to be "challenging" us, like the "prophetic calls" that pulled people away from Yahweh in Jeremiah's times and before.  If there is a time in your day you will discover a treasure in St. Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 7.  In particular, you should read and re-read verses 13-25of that chapter.  These words of the great apostle, surely a well known sinner, is quite honest about how his life is regularly challenged and that he is not always the saint!

Jesus, in the gospel today, explains the parable of the weeds in the field to the disciple who asked for an interpretation.  He reminds them those with him and us that weeds can grow in any garden, any heart.  So, readers, listen in you heart to Paul's words for his letter to the Romans.

4 Did the good, then, become death for me? Of course not! Sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin, worked death in me through the good, so that sin might become sinful beyond measure through the commandment.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin.
What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good.
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 5
Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin.