Distant Promises

The daily readings are never meant to be a Bible Study per se, but unless one has a sense of the book or scroll from which it is taken, I think people unfamiliar with, e.g. the prophet Jeremiah, easily are lost as the reading is proclaimed. It just becomes words, strange sounding names and places, and a storyline that is not clear. Perhaps particularly true this week.

  • Monday’s reading has a prophet Hananiah proclaiming all will be well. Sure, the Babylonians are at the gates, but God will rescue – He always does. The problem is that the Lord’s prophet, Jeremiah, has been preaching the conditions of rescue – return to the Covenant and live as God’s own people. Judah and Jerusalem have already revolted against Babylon and now they are in revolt against God. It won’t go well.
  • Tuesday’s reading has the judgment of God given against Judah and Jerusalem: “Incurable is your wound, grievous your bruise; There is none to plead your cause, no remedy for your running sore, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you…” (Jer 30:12-14a) Destruction is imminent.
  • Today’s reading reveals that even in the face of revolt, even though judgment will result, God does not give up on his covenant or his people. “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt,” (Jer 31:3-4a)

Restored, yes! But for what purpose? As Monday’s gospel admonished, to be salt of the earth and a light to the nations – even the ancient enemies now gone, Babylon, and the enemies still present, the Canaanites. As with the Canaanite woman of great faith, so too the path to reconciliation and restoration begins with faith. That is the leaven and the light to come be a member of the family of God.

Fallen stones from 70 AD Temple Mount destruction in Jerusalem by Romans, Jerusalem Archaeological Garden and Davidson Center” by Following Hadrian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Way back in the day, before this life as a Franciscan, I was helping out with a teen ministry program at my parish. I will always remember one comment a young woman made: “It’s not like I have a contract with God or anything.”

Contract: an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for some consideration, often an exchange of goods and services. A contract includes a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration; f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) and the execution of all the above.  I am sure the lawyers and first year law students can provide a more precise definition. But my point is that contracts are hardly personal. I have signed contracts for car loans without ever meeting the bank representatives. And I signed an apartment rental contracts and never met the actual property owners. Who cares? It’s business, right? Did everyone get what they agreed to? Contract with God? Continue reading