Wow! In the first reading, the poor prophet Jeremiah finds himself literally stuck in the mud – down in a cistern – with little hope for escape. He could have died a slow and miserable death. Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem. He spoke fearlessly, condemning the sins of the people, and encouraged them to change their ways. This (naturally) earned Jeremiah many enemies who would try to kill him to shut him up. God took care of Jeremiah, however, by sending Ebedmelech, an Ethiopian eunuch, to convince the king to rescue the prophet before it was too late. (for a summary of Jeremiah’s story click here.)
I wonder if Jeremiah was fearless when he was down in that cistern, up to his neck in muck. I wonder if he ever blamed God. I wonder if he was like Daniel in the lion’s den, brave, and certain that his God would protect and rescue him.
Have you ever felt hopelessly stuck in the mud – unable to move – feeling like you were surely going to die a slow and painful death? A dead marriage, a spouse with an addiction, a child who has turned away from God, a job you hate, bills you cannot pay, a chronic illness, the death of a loved one…Do we wait faithfully – persevering in hope – until God pulls us out of the pit?
Life is so hard sometimes. There is no doubt about it! We must believe that we are not alone. God will rescue us just in time – every time – in His time. In the meantime, He can strengthen us to endure, if we but turn to Him instead of turning against Him in our distress. Paul tells us so eloquently in the second reading, “Persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,the leader and perfecter of faith.”
I love Jesus’ words in the gospel, ““I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!” We can help with this right here, right now! Have you heard talk of “The New Evangelization?” We are called to spread the good news – the civilization of love – everywhere we go. We must be bold and fearless like Jeremiah. As Jesus also tells us today, His message will not be met with enthusiasm by everyone who hears it. It may make enemies for us. It may even cause friction in our own families. We must not lose heart, however. This life passes quickly – tooooo quickly. It is but a blink of an eye when you think of eternity. We must try to help win souls for Christ now while there is still time – no matter the cost. When we meet Jesus face to face, we will be so glad that we said “Yes,” to Him.