Thursday of week 3 of Lent – First Reading

Commentary on Jeremiah 7:23-28 (Note the commentary is on an alternative reading for today)

The theme today is expressed in the final words of the Gospel: “The one that is not with me scatters.”

Strong statements from Jeremiah about how God’s people do not listen to his words. The covenant was: “Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper.”
But that is not what has happened, says Jeremiah. “They followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me.” And that in spite of so many messengers and prophets sent to speak to the people.
As the Gospel of today indicates in Jesus’ confrontation with some Pharisees, when people do not want to believe, there is nothing that will change their minds. They will refuse to acknowledge goodness staring them in the face.
We are not here to sit in judgement on our predecessors. Readings like this are intended to help us take a closer look at ourselves.
What we need to do is to ask how far do these words of Jeremiah apply to us. How carefully do we listen? How well do we carry out the will of God in our lives? How clearly can we discern the presence of God in our daily situations? What kind of influence or force are we in our communities? A force for greater unity or for division?

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