Wednesday of Week 2 of Lent – First Reading

Commentary on Jeremiah 18:18-20

Today’s readings continue in a slightly different direction from that of yesterday: the need for someone who is a servant to not expect a reward. Doing the right things in the right way because they are right, and not for glory, honour, praise or reward.

There are plots against the prophet Jeremiah. People find his teaching uncomfortable and they want to get rid of him. He is seen as a trouble-maker. In the eyes of his critics, getting rid of Jeremiah will make their own lives easier. Without him around to pronounce harsh truths, the work of the priests, sages and other prophets can go on just as before. Their words are so bland and harmless, and lull people into complacency as they have always done.

But Jeremiah is puzzled. Referring to the attacks being made on him when he passes on God’s word to the people, he asks:

Is evil a recompense for good?

It is a question that is often asked. “How could God allow this to happen to such a good person?” He had pleaded with God on the people’s behalf and this is the reward he gets.

We will see in today’s Gospel that those plotting against Jesus do not treat him any differently. We should not be surprised either if, as Christians, we meet with ridicule and rejection. The world is not ready to hear words of truth and justice. It does not like the true prophet who has the tendency to draw people’s attention to the things they don’t want to hear. Jesus had that annoying habit too.

But let us also consider whether people’s indifference to our message and way of life is because of its blandness, like salt without taste. If so, then we deserve to be ignored.

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