The 22nd Sunday of the Year

Jer 20:7-9; Rom 12:1-2; Mt 16:21-27 (Year A)

‘You have seduced me Lord, and I have let myself be sed­uced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger. I am a daily laughing stock, everybody’s butt.”

The prophet Jeremiah’s heartfelt words lay bare the raw humanity at the heart of his vocation. At his calling he had protested his weakness, describing himself as no more than a child. Despite his frailty, the Lord had insisted: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you to protect you; it is the Lord who speaks. I am putting my words into your mouth.”

As Jeremiah faced the inevitable isolation generated by his unwelcome mission, he expressed a resentment frequently felt but rarely expressed. Speaking of a God whose assurances seemed to have vanished, he voiced his resentment: “I used to say, ‘I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more.’ ”

In less dramatic ways our Christian faith will be both challenged and mocked. Like Jeremiah, we shall be tempted to remain silent, to dissolve into the anonymity of the crowd, to forget the assurance we once felt.

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