Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fourth Saturday of Lent:“Lord of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause”. (Jeremiah 11: 20)

Jeremiah humbly made himself God’s messenger, spending himself without reserve for the people, even interceding for them. In exchange, he finds himself exposed to the traps of those who want to kill him. In the prophet’s failure, we see the weakness of a Word that presents itself unarmed. It does not impose itself, but proposes, thus exposing itself to the possibility of refusal, and even of a violent reaction.

Jeremiah faces persecution and will close his days as an apparent failure. The same fate will touch the Word made flesh, Jesus, who is rejected not only because His message is uncomfortable, but because it touches a pre-established order that guarantees the privileges of those in power, and also because of the difficulty in freeing self from prejudices. “Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee”. The logical conclusion is that He is not a prophet, much less the Messiah. Thus they must eliminate Him to defend the purity of the Israelite creed, protect the ignorant populace, and silence voices that cannot be true. All is covered in legitimacy.

We find the reaction in the confessions of Jeremiah, in the passage that bespeaks confident abandonment to God who alone knows what nests in the human heart and therefore can judge justly. He invokes vengeance, but he does not take revenge, leaving God to pronounce the last word. Jesus goes beyond this. Not only does He not vindicate Himself nor ask God to do so, nor does He limit Himself to forgive. He intercedes with the Father to forgive those who crucify Him. It is here, in the weakness of the Word, that the invincible power of God is revealed that purifies, redeems, and annihilates the brutal violence of evil.

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on the restorative power of forgiveness. Only by breaking the vicious circle of hatred and revenge can we open the infinite horizon of the good. I will be the one to begin.

Lord, grant that I may have the confident abandonment of Jeremiah who leaves judgment to You, and the power of the forgiveness of Jesus who intercedes for His persecutors. Thus, I too can place in the world’s desert, a small seed that will germinate and blossom into love.

- Living Scripture

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