For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.”
But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The prophet Jeremiah, like Jesus in today’s Gospel (Jn 10:31-42), is surrounded by phony friends who feel betrayed because their own interests are being threatened. They are watching and waiting to entrap him so as not to lose their power or leadership roles.
Jeremiah, who was a good man, chose not to play it safe but places his full trust and assurance in the Lord who “sees the heart and the mind.” He believed God spoke to power not through violence nor force, but through faith and trust. “In my distress I called upon the Lord and he heard me.”
He speaks of a God who heard him and “has delivered the life of the needy.” Jesus rescues by stories of truth and by healing the sick, consoling the poor and forgiving sinners. Not by arguments or open judgements, Jesus quietly questioned injustice, hypocrisy and false securities.
When feeling stressed or at risk, do I let go of my own security and personal interests and put my full trust and confidence in God? Do my stories and choices speak for the poor and question injustices?
—Vicki Simon is the director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps in St. Louis.
O Christ Jesus,
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of Your presence, Your love and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
—Unknown, often attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola