17th Week, Friday, Jul 31

Jeremiah 26:1-9 / Matthew 13:54-58 
Jeremiah prophesies trouble:The people threatened Jeremiah.

When Samuel Morse explained his plans for telegraph communication in 1842, some people ridiculed him. When Bell Telephone applied for a patent in 1876, some communication experts dismissed the telephone idea as a toy. When Thomas Edison outlined his plans for an incandescent light in 1878, the British Parliament laughed at the idea. Something like that happened to Jeremiah in today's reading. He was not only ridiculed but threatened with death for speaking out in God's name.
How do we respond when people make fun of us for doing or saying what we think is right?
"Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!"
Matthew 5:10
If someone were to ask you who preached the homily at Mass last Sunday, you might take a while to recall which priest it was.
But if the next question would be "So what did he preach about?" then we really have to crank up our memory in order to recall what we heard. And ten other persons who were there listening to the same homily would have ten versions of what was preached.

That could mean that people are doing their own reflections about the Word of God. Yet people also tend to listen with varying degrees of openness and receptivity. And that depends largely on who is speaking.

In the two readings of today, we see two types of people who are not open to what is said. In the 1st reading is the type who is not open to correction, and hence do not want to hear the truth.

In the gospel is the type who is not open to the person, and hence is not open to the truth. We have a bit of both in each of us. But when we challenge ourselves to listen to what is said and not how it is said or who is saying it, then we will be able to hear the truth. Then we will hear the prophetic voice of God.
Friday July 31

Friday of 17th Week in Ordinary Time


Today the prophet Jeremiah warns the people that their trust in the temple as God’s presence among them is of no value unless they make God present in their lives by living their religion, and the temple will be destroyed as once the Philistines destroyed the sanctuary of Shiloh. The priests and the people threaten to kill Jeremiah.
Jesus is not welcome either among his people, in his town, his home country, for he is disturbing people’s consciences. He confronts them with the challenging reality of God and his ways. Christ shakes his people from their security in laws and outward practices. How dare he, one from their own town and street? Who does he think he is? Dare we to be the prophet’s voice needed today? Dare we to be unconventional?

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
we are but timid people,
and yet you expect of us
to speak the word of your Son
by the witnessing of our lives.
We pray you for the courage
to live the kind of life
that your Son lived
and to follow him wherever he leads us
without the luggage of our securities.
Grant us this conviction
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Both Jesus and Jeremiah were prophets who were not honored in their own country. Although the people were amazed at Jesus’ learning and insight, he was such a “local boy” that he could not be taken seriously. Jeremiah’s message was so threatening with reference to the temple and the city that it seemed sacrilegious and out of place. The best solution was to be rid of the prophet.
In many ways we are not much different. We settle into a particular way of thinking and make what we hear conform to that. We see acts of violence perpetrated against innocent people. When we wage a war we see only one side and fail to see the hurt that may be present in the opposition. We sometimes exploit the natural resources of poorer countries and then fail to understand their resentment.
Let us try to have an open and understanding spirit. The law of averages tells us that there are times when we will be right and times when we will be wrong. At least we want to try to comprehend what others are saying. It is surprising to see how much we can change and learn from others.

Points to Ponder
Opposition to Jeremiah
Jesus as the “local boy”
A willingness to learn and to change


– That the Spirit of Christ may inspire our leaders of the Church with prophetic zeal to lead our people to true Christian freedom, we pray:
– That there may be prophets also among us today, however annoying we may find them, to remind us of what God expects of us, we pray:
– That the world of today may not turn a deaf ear to the voices of prophets who plead for peace and justice for all, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
we want this bread and wine to signify
that as we share your Son’s table
we also accept to be with him
signs of contradiction.
Let him change us
from weak and faint-hearted people
into people with the courage
to live as we believe
and to speak out boldly
for all that is right and good,
as Jesus did, your Son,
who lives with you and with us for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus has spoken among us
prophetic words and deeds
of courage and self-giving.
Make us bold enough
to go with him his way to people,
even if the best of our Intercessions
are misunderstood.
We say so in fear and trembling,
but we want to be humble disciples
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We should learn to listen to prophets, people who have something to say that is perhaps not pleasing but to the point. And we too should have the courage to speak up when needed, especially when we see injustice done to people. May almighty God give you this courage and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.