Some thoughts on today's Old Testament Reading from Leo
Old Testament Reading
I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.” But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O LORD of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!
Have you ever felt like no one, not even your best friend, is on your side? That your enemies will prevail over you? That all is lost? I think this is how Jeremiah must have been feeling when he wrote these words. However, Jeremiah didn’t stop at despair. He moved on to hope, expressing his faith that the Lord was with him, “like a mighty champion”. Jeremiah also praised the God who lifted up, who rescued the poor. During these days, in our struggles with sickness and death, isolation and uncertainty, God may seem far away or uninvolved; maybe God is even seen as the bad guy. However, I am reminded of the Footprints poster which has the writer accusingly asking where God was when there was only one set of footprints in the sand…and God responding “that is when I carried you.” We need to cooperate with God’s grace, God’s presence, too. That means that we ought to stay home as much as is possible, unless we are emergency or essential workers and first responders…thank God for their work…and, from home, do what we can to alleviate the pain, suffering, and isolation of others around us. As Fr. Jim said in his homily this past Sunday, we need a little Easter right now; we know that God has conquered death and brought us new life. Let’s together look for signs of new life around us, the signs of God’s presence as our champion.
Here’s a link to the song, Be Not Afraid. It was written by Bob Dufford, SJ, an original St. Louis Jesuit, and is sung here by John Michael Talbot: