Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monday: What comes with abundance?

Let's continue with the words of Jeremiah presented in the first reading.  There is a dispute between Jeremiah and another prophet, Hananiah.  The argument arose because Hananiah was teaching what Jeremiah and the other prophets did not teach.  Hananiah tells Jeremiah in the presence of the priests and people that he will bring about peace to the land.  He will bring back the people who had fled the kingdom of Judah for Babylon ... the Babylonian Captivity!  He would break the back of the cruel Nebuchadnezzar.  For most his words were a welcome message that peace was coming back to their lives.  Yet that promise contained no call to repentance and holiness of life.   For the writers of the prophetic period essential to the healing of the people, necessary for the restoration of the kingdom of Judah and the Temple in Jerusalem was the reality of repentance and a serious effort to live a life of holiness.

Jeremiah tells Hananiah in front of the priests and people that "from of old, the prophets who were before you and me prophesied war, woe and pestilence against many lands and mighty kingdoms."  The promise of peace would never be fulfilled as long as the people were not encouraged to repentance and holiness.

So it for us today.  Jesus Christ brought about the feeding of the 5000 men and all the women and children with them.  He is a symbol of genuine abundance.  However, as Jeremiah might have said were he alive when Jesus was preaching:  you cannot continue your lives of sinning if you wish to share in the abundance that I wish to bring to you as a gift from my Father, our Father.

For Jeremiah, Hananiah had been on the "banquet circuit" preaching "rebellion against the Lord."  And as Jeremiah writes:  "The Lord has not sent you and you have raised false confidence in this people....  For this says the Lord, I will dispatch you from the face of the earth, this very year you shall die...."  And in that same year some three months later Hananiah died!   Ooops!