Wednesday, March 7, 2007
WEDNESDAY of Second Week in Lent – First Reading
Readings: Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28
Today's readings continue in a slightly different form that of yesterday: the need for service without 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; they want to get rid of him. He is seen as a trouble-maker.
In the eyes of his critics, getting rid of him really won't make much difference. The work of the priests, sages and other prophets will go on without him just as before. Their words are so bland and harmless and lull people into complacency as they have always done.
But Jeremiah is puzzled. "Should evil be returned for good?" he asks, referring to the attacks being made on him when he passes on God's word to the people. 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 they do not treat Jesus 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 truth and justice; it does not like the real prophet who has the tendency to draw people's attentions 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, salt without taste. Then we deserve to be ignored.