Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

The lament of Jeremiah is echoed as Jesus attempts to reason and dialogue with his persecutors.  We could wonder why Jesus even bothers trying to explain himself to those who are convinced he is a sinner.  Perhaps it is to drive home the point about how difficult it is for us to let go of our false judgements when we have already made up our mind.  No matter how intelligent Jesus is, there is nothing he can say to change the heart of those who want Him dead.  Judgement appears, because it is an achievement of reason, like something intelligent.  The role of the intellect is, however, most importantly to discern the good.  If in my judgements I have not discerned the good, they are not very intelligent.

Those who persecute are those who are no longer children of God.  They are no longer lovers of God.  The Father’s love frees our hearts from the preoccupation with who is right and who is wrong, or who is good and who is bad.  The love of God is for everyone and it is so much better than the pettiness of our judgements.  The childlike simplicity of Jesus’s heart shines as He tries to get His persecutors to look with love to the Father.  When our minds become so grown up and self-assured that we are no longer capable – in our own assessment – of thinking something that is not true, may the power of the Word of God still manage to wiggle something loose in our hearts.


“And when Origen reads this passage and asks himself whether God could ever deceive someone, he explains: “We are little children, and we must be treated as little children. God, therefore, entrances us in order to form us, although we may not be aware of this captivation before the appropriate time comes. God does not deal with us as people who have already left childhood, who can no longer be led by sweet words but only by deeds” (Homiliae in Jeremiam, 19, 15).”1

“In spite of everything, Jeremiah is sure that God will never forsake him (v. 11). From what he says, we can see that there is an inner tension between his experience of all kinds of sufferings (vv. 14–18) and the conviction that God will never leave him (vv. 12–13). What he says in v. 18 could suggest that he is utterly depressed, but what he is doing is baring his soul to someone whom he loves and trusts entirely, even in the midst of total darkness and a sense of powerlessness. Events will show this to be the case: Jeremiah did not give up his ministry but persevered in it to the end of his life. He admits his limitations but he stays true to God: this bears out what the Lord will tell St Paul when he feels the situation is beyond him: “My power is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).”2

“John of the Cross: “It is very difficult to attempt to understand fully the words and deeds of God, or even to decide what they may be, without falling often into error or becoming very confused. The prophets who were entrusted with the word of God knew this well; their task of prophesying to the people was a daunting one, for the people could not always see what was spoken coming to pass. Therefore, they mocked and laughed at the prophets, as Jeremiah says: I have become a laughingstock all the day; every one mocks me (20:7). Although the prophet speaks as though resigned to his fate, in the voice of a weak man who is unable to bear any longer the vicissitudes of God, he makes clear the difference between the prophecy and its fulfilment and the common sense that the divine sayings contain, because he knows that the prophets were often taken as mischief-makers” (Ascent of Mount Carmel, 2, 20, 6).”3


  1. Gavigan, J., McCarthy, B., & McGovern, T. (Eds.). (2005). Major Prophets (pp. 384–385). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.
  2. Gavigan, J., McCarthy, B., & McGovern, T. (Eds.). (2005). Major Prophets (p. 385). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.
  3. Gavigan, J., McCarthy, B., & McGovern, T. (Eds.). (2005). Major Prophets (p. 385). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.
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