Thursday of Week 3 of Lent – First Reading

Commentary on Jeremiah 7:23-28

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

Jeremiah makes strong statements about how God’s people do not listen to his words. The covenant was:

Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.

But that is not what has happened, says Jeremiah, in spite of so many messengers and prophets sent to speak to the people:

Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels and looked backward rather than forward.

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 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? Are we a force for greater unity or for division?

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