18th Week, Monday, Aug 3

Jeremiah 28:1-17 / Matthew 14:13-21
Two prophets: One was false; the other, true.

Years ago, a Russian pianist gave a concert in New York. The next morning the music critic for the New York Times called the concert “disconnected” and “disappointing.” The music critic for the New York Herald Tribune, however, called the concert “blazing” and “electrifying.”
Two professional critics heard the same concert but judged it totally differently. In today’s reading, two prophets viewed the same situation but judged it totally differently. Hananiah viewed it and judged it from his human perspective; Jeremiah viewed it and judged it from God’s perspective.
How do we tend to view and judge situations— from God’s all-knowing perspective, or from our own limited human perspective? “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” H. M. Tomlinson
The phrase "stand up" is incorrect because it has a double emphasis and hence the second word is redundant and incorrect in the usage. But the phrase "to stand up" is often used in everyday language for a particular emphasis.
To stand up means to be counted, and that sounds rather heroic, but it also means that it is certainly not comfortable. When everyone wants to be seated and feel safe, do we want to stand up and look like a sore thumb, and even feel like a sore thumb.

In the 1st reading, the yoke that the prophet Jeremiah wore was a symbol that the people should submit to Babylon. That would have enabled them to have some respite from the threat of being annihilated and also to slowly rethink their relationship with God and to repent.

But that was an uncomfortable message, a humiliating message, but the prophet Jeremiah had to stand up for it.

But the prophet Hananiah broke the yoke and gave the people a more comfortable and acceptable message, and that eventually led to disaster.

The history of Christianity is peppered with people who stood up and spoke the hard truth rather than sit quietly and remain comfortable.

But if all Christians were to stand up and speak the truth, especially the hard truth, the rest of the world will slowly get up on its feet.

We are all prophets by virtue of our baptism. We need to ask the Lord for the wisdom to know the truth and to courage to proclaim it with love.
Monday August 3


The true prophet is he who says what God inspires him to say, however challenging or unpleasant his word. The false prophet is he who says what people want to hear. He compromises with the truth and with himself. Some talk to an oracle to please themselves, to hear their own voice. And those who do not live as they preach also belong somehow among the false prophets.
The symbolism of the Gospel: narrative is very strong. Water is evil, which swallows up. Jesus, the Lord, is mightier. He invites the disciple and the whole Church to take the risk of faith of following him. Faith is insecure by itself; we have to pass through the storms of life between faith and fear. But the Lord is there, unseen: It is I, I am with you. Do not be afraid.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
there is a constant tension in us
between fear and faith
as we are battling with the winds and the waves
that threaten our faithfulness to the Gospel.
Make us accept Lord,
that faith is never secure
or acquired once and for all.
Make it grow in us day after day,
that we may not be faint-hearted
but resolutely follow your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Hananiah was a prophet who told the people what they wanted to hear. A quick end to exile, an imminent return to their homeland, restoration of the temple property. Jeremiah upbraids him and predicts his death for misleading the people. The length of time for the Hebrews to bear the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, remains undetermined. To minister in the name of the Lord remains a very sacred call.
In Matthew’s account of the miraculous provision of food, there is an interesting note. After blessing and breaking the bread, Jesus gives it to the disciples to distribute. It is Matthew who shows special deference to the disciples and highlights their ministerial role. Jesus appears to them in Galilee after his resurrection and commissions them to carry his message to the world. In today’s church, new forms of ministry have appeared, with the laity accorded new roles. These come to the fore in every Sunday Mass we attend. This is as it should be but carries with it its own responsibilities. A coherent Christian life, a reverence for the sacred, and a deep sense of faith. Ministers are commissioned by Christ in what must always be seen as a sacred trust.

Points to Ponder
The prophecy that pleases
Ministers of the Eucharist
Willingness to respond to the Church’s call

– For the Church, when it has to pass through difficult moments of persecution, ridicule or inner conflict, that it may keep trusting in the Lord, we pray:
– For Christians beset by doubts or facing hard decisions of conscience, that they may see the hand that Jesus extends to them, we pray:
– For people, who have to do dangerous work, that the Lord may protect them we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
You wish to reassure us,
Lord our God,
how much you are with us
through him who is our food and drink,
your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through him, give us the power
to walk the stormy road of faith
and to take the risks of love,
that we may overcome our fears
and make his reassuring word
the foundation of our life and work
now and till the end of time.

Prayer after Communion
Our all-powerful God,
you invite us through Jesus, your Son,
to leave our timid security
and to come across the water with him
in commitment to you and to our neighbor.
Even though, we do not see his hand
put out to us and holding us,
give us enough faith to be certain
that with him, we shall overcome
and build up your future in our human world,
until he leads us across to you,
our God, for ever and ever.

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid,” says Jesus. He is with us in our struggles, for he will never desert us. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.