Reflection for Saturday, March 20, 1999: 4th week in Lent.
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Today's readings are both about recognizing God and responding appropriately to God. In the preceding passages in Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah to remind the people that they have ignored God's covenant and rules. They ignore God and they ignore God's messenger and worship false gods. In today's reading they want to eliminate Jeremiah who was reminder to them of their evil ways. But God "who judgest righteously, who triest the heart and the mind" punishes the evil doers. In John's gospel there is debate over whether Jesus is the Christ. The concern is in the letter of the prophecy. The prophecy said that the Christ was to come from Bethlehem, but the Pharisees thought Jesus was from Galilee-so he couldn't be the Christ. He didn't fulfill the criterion. But of course he did. Jeremiah also dealt with the letter of the law. The Lord God had said in verse 4, "Obey my voice and to them, according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God." And God fulfilled his part of the bargain, but the people burned incense to Baal. The people in Jeremiah reverted to old gods and old ways. They had God's covenant, but they didn't fulfill their end of the deal. The Pharisees couldn't recognize God when he was among because they were too caught up in details and didn't know the whole story. In both cases God was in their midst and the people could have had the benefits of God, but they chose not to obey God and didn't recognize the whole situation.|How many times do we react to things without understanding the whole situation. Would the Pharisees have believed in Jesus if they'd realized he was born in Bethlehem? Or should his words have been enough, should faith have been enough? Two weeks ago in the Sunday gospel Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the Christ, and she believed him. And without questioning his birthplace. We don't know the big picture. We don't know all the details, or what God has in store for us. Sometimes we react without realizing what God knows, what is truly for the best. And often like the Pharisees we don't recognize God when He is in our midst, and we don't have faith enough. Doesn't God tell us everyday that ultimately, everything will be all right? And don't we everyday not have faith and disbelieve that.|I've taken to keeping a gratitude journal everyday. Everyday I find something to thank God for. Everyday I remind myself that I find God in my midst. And everyday when I am tempted to react to a perceived negative situation, I remind myself that I do not know the big picture. I remind myself that God is around us all the time and made a covenant to take care of those who put their faith in him. He's keeping his end of the bargain. I have to try to keep mine.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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