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by Feb 28, 2024Friar Reflection

I am a bit troubled by today’s readings. The gospel is this uncomfortable sequence in which Jesus, for the third time, has told his disciples “Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified.” At least this time Jesus lets them know he will be raised from the dead… not that they understand what he is telling them – or maybe they weren’t really listening.

“OK, sure, that’s all good and well, but when you come into your kingdom…” There is a part of me that wants to reply, “Really?!?” And there is the part of me that is troubled. How many times have I missed the important Words of God while I was thinking of something else, something focused more on me than on the ones I am called to serve. When I am focused on my list of things to do… no doubt important … but are they things of service to the Lord and his people?

I wonder if sometimes I am exactly like the people in the first reading who are conspiring against Jeremiah. They’re thinking: So, what if we get rid of Jeremiah, “It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.” At least not the ones who give us what we want to hear, offer easy grace, and don’t disturb us from our view of the world.

The Word of God. Just last week the prophet Isaiah told us that the Word goes out and accomplishes its mission and does not return to God empty-handed. The question is will the Word return with us in hand? Did we listen even when it made us uncomfortable, disturbed our world view, and shone a light on a path we are less-than-willing to walk.

The world is not ready to hear the disturbing words of the Gospel. Folks don’t like the true prophet who draws people’s attention to the things they don’t want to hear. That’s for folks to figure out. But what about us? Are we willing to be disturbed?

Image credit: The Prophet Jeremiah, Michelangelo, fresco on ceiling of Sistine Chapel, Vatican City | Public Domain