Second Wednesday of Lent
Today’s first reading presents the people of Judah and Jerusalem as they hatch a plot against the prophet Jeremiah:
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
"Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word."
Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them. (Jer 18:18-20)
The prophet Jeremiah speaks the word of God to the people for their own sake. But instead of taking it as the word of God, they distort it and seek to place the meaning that is most convenient to them in its place. They did this in order to achieve their goal of destroying Jeremiah. In this way they encounter no difficulty with their version of the “word of God”. Fundamentally, the people see the word of God as something that simply conforms to them, and not something they conform to.
During this time of Lent, let us take time in our prayer to reflect upon the word of God and not to shy away from difficulty. Although we are like the people of Judah and Jerusalem, let us ask for the grace, as we strain forward on this journey, to understand more fully the word of God, to conform our lives to it, and not to supplant it with our own self-serving interpretation.