Psalm 71:1-2,3-4a,5-6ab,15 and 17
Jeremiah served the Lord and his people for more than forty years, from 627 BC to around 582 BC. He served from the reign of the good king Josiah to the time after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. He was from a priestly family and was called by God in the thirteenth year of King Josiah. He did not see a vision of God’s glory like Isaiah, but rather entered into dialogue with God and understood his prophetic mission.
In his dialogue with God, Jeremiah immediately recognized his limitations. He thought he was too young and inexperienced. The Lord tells him not to be afraid, for the he will deliver him. The Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and put his words in the prophet’s mouth. This powerful word will overthrow nations, destroying what existed and planting the seeds of new life (see M. Duggan, The Consuming Fire, Ignatius Press, 294).
Jeremiah teaches us the great truth that God knows each one of us from eternity. He knows us even before we are conceived in the womb. He has a plan for each one of us. It is a plan that is greater than we are able to imagine. This fact does not mean that we will not suffer in life. Jeremiah’s life, for example, was full of suffering on account of God’s word. The knowledge that God watches over each one of us, fills us with hope and trust in God. We depend on him from birth and he is our strength. Our task is to declare his justice and salvation to all men and women. We should not fear since the words we speak are God’s words, and the strength we enjoy is of divine origin.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we heard the first of a series of eight parables, the parable of the sower. Jesus explains that the seed is the one who hears the word of the kingdom. Some of those who hear the word do not understand it (the path), others welcome it superficially (rocky ground), others are distracted by the world (thorns), others understand it and bear fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, others one hundredfold.
The seven parables that follow will continue to reveal the mystery of the kingdom, first explaining the difference between the children of the kingdom (good seed) and the children of the evil one (bad seed), then how the kingdom grows (from a small seed to a large plant), third, how the kingdom transforms the world (yeast in dough), fourth, how the kingdom is not revealed to all (parable of the hidden treasure), fifth, how the kingdom is worth more than everything else (parable of the pearl of great price), sixth, how the separation of the righteous, who enter the kingdom of heaven, and wicked, who are thrown into the fiery furnace, will take place at the end of the age (parable of the dragnet), and finally, how Jesus’ disciple have been instructed in the kingdom of heaven (parable of the head of a household who brings out both new and old).
Jeremiah was a young man when he heard the word of God. We can say that he was good seed that fell on good soil and bore fruit for the Lord, probably one hundredfold. He sought to understand the word; he allowed it to enter deep into his heart and transform his way of life; he didn’t let worldly anxiety choke the word he was given. We simply ask God today to help us fall deep into good soil, so that we may bear fruit that lasts – the fruit of the heavenly kingdom of justice, peace and love.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at email@example.com.