I bet you thought things were looking up for Jeremiah after his awareness he needed to change, that the sin was his, and that it was his attitude that needed work. How wrong! While Jeremiah does seem to be at greater peace with God, his words do not find a fertile reception in the hearts of the priests, prophets or any of the people. “We must put him to death!”
Lest you thought that when we fully embrace God’s will that things will all fall into place, we need only look at Jeremiah to learn it is not always the case. He needed to learn how to better present the message he had been given by God, and when he embraced this, the “only” difference, it appears, is in the quality of his relationship with God. While this is no small thing, it is not exactly the happy ending we were seeking.
It seems the gospel presents a similar problem. Jesus is recognized as having wisdom, while at the same time he is challenged because he was not so long ago that “little brat” that was running around Nazareth. The people knew his relatives, they new him, and they simply seemed quite unable to accept that this little Jesus, son of Joseph the Carpenter and his wife Mary, could really be capable of such wisdom.
Ever felt dismissed in your life? Ever had that experience of not being believed and accepted, not because of the ideas you speak, but because of the pre-determined view of those to whom they are spoken?
It is important not to lose sight of the common denominator in both of these readings — both Jesus and Jeremiah were clearly speaking the words of God, and were punished for such by those who heard them. We must be careful to realize that we must be persons of prayer before engaging in the same things. “Contemplare aliis tradere” is a motto familar to Dominicans. To contemplate in order to hand over the fruits of contemplation. Remember, Jeremiah may have even been right in what he spoke (as we heard earlier) but he was not effective.
Our words will only become effective when we can embrace that life-changing reality that is a deep life of faith.