But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.”
Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.
So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
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.
In today’s first reading, the people of God have sinned and turned their backs on the law of the Lord. Jeremiah’s task is to call them to repent from the “stubbornness of their evil will” and return to God.
St. Ignatius teaches that when we are in sin the Evil One counsels us: “Everyone is doing it, so how can it be so wrong? Besides, it is what is in your heart that counts. Changing now will be too tough and you will be laughed at as a softy!”
The Evil One stirs up our fears while the Holy Spirit works by touching our conscience and virtue: “You lied just to get out of some work? You like this job and yet you were just like a 4 yr old—you are better than that. You once were the ‘go to guy’ for more difficult jobs. You are still capable of that.”
Who will save us from our folly? Only Jesus Christ whose pierced heart is the source of the living water of forgiveness and refreshment.
—Fr. Karl Voelker, SJ, is on the staff of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.
Lord, grant me the serenity and the wisdom
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the divine wisdom to know the difference.
—Serenity prayer adapted by Fr. Karl Voelker, SJ
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