Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Text of the Hebrew Testament for Sunday 2 September 2013

Jeremiah 2:4-13     Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel.                   Thus says the LORD:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They did not say, "Where is the LORD
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?"
I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, "Where is the LORD?"
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.
Therefore once more I accuse you, says the LORD,
and I accuse your children's children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has ever been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns
that can hold no water.

Reflection     “Where is the Lord?”  “Where is God in all of this?” I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is hard for me to find God in the world in which I live. Where is God in the kerfuffle I had with my daughter? In the suicide of my friend’s younger brother? Where is God in Egypt and Israel, Palestine and Syria and the whole Middle East for that matter? Where is God in tsunamies, and tornadoes and rising sea levels? Where is God in wars waged with paper and politics and IEDs? Where is God for the homeless, the hungry and the just barely hanging on? All of that reminds me of the story of our ancestor Job.
You may recall Job was a good and righteous man. God said so and the devil agreed. Still a series of underserved events left the successful land and live-stock owner, admired employer of many, benevolent father of ten children and beloved husband sitting in a trash dump, his businesses lost, his employees scattered, his wife and children dead, and his body wracked with disease. Still, Job never stopped calling out to God. “Where is the Lord? Where are you God? Talk to me. Where is the Lord?”
This, I believe, is the kind of faithfulness God desires from us. The word of the Lord as spoken through the prophet Jeremiah wants to take us by the shoulders and shake us. “Don’t you see, the Lord is with you in your times of trial and success? The Lord is with you in your enslavement and as you break away from situations in which you are not free. The Lord is with you when you take risks, when you are lost, when you suffer, when you are healed. The Lord is with you when everyone else is gone. Therefore you must never stop calling out to the Lord. Where is the Lord? Where is God in all of this?”
For the Jesuits, a religous order of the Roman Church, a central spiritual practice is “Finding God in all things.” It is the lived recognition that nothing can seperate us from the presence of God, the love of God, nothing. To speak of finding God in all things is to understand that God is not distant and ‘other,’ rather God is intimately present with and for us no matter what. We are the objects of God’s love. It is the work of our lifetime to smash our litttle clay gods, the ideas, ideals and ideologies that prevent us from finding God in all things, and open the way of our hearts to experience the awesome mystery that is God present. One way to do this is pause at the end of each day, review the course of events asking, "Where did I notice God present? Where did I not?" Then pray for the grace to see more clearly tomorrow the presence and action of God in your life.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         If you found this reflection engaging, please share it by clicking on Facebook, twitter or google+ below. Thank you.