Saturday, August 2, 2014

ACCEPT THE WORD


                                                                                       REFLECTION FOR SATURDAY 17th Week in Ordinary Time 
                                                                                                                                            (Jer 26:11-16,24. Mt 14:1-12)
Jeremiah prophesied against the Temple and the City. His voice unsettled the people’s temporary comfort in evil.  Thus, they threatened to kill him. But Jeremiah quickly reminded them that the messaged he delivered came from God. So killing him would not silence the voice because it’s actually God’s word that he proclaimed. And God’s word is a living word that lives beyond the messenger. In other words, whether they let him go or not, God’s word for them must be fulfilled. And if they kill him, they would have only succeeded in increasing their crimes, which implies more punishment. He urged them to accept the message irrespective of him.

Jeremiah’s readiness to die for God’s word becomes a veritable platform that enabled the people to receive the message for what it is, God’s word and not some human thinking (cf 1Th 2:13). Interestingly, it is within this same platform that the messenger becomes effective and successful. In other words, a preacher who removes martyrdom from his catalogue of witnessing for the Word, will most likely trade off the word to save his life. And his list of compromising will begin to increase.

From Jeremiah’s experience in the first reading, it becomes easier for us to understand why Herod and his illegal sweet heart, Herodias, rejected the message of John the Baptist. Deafened by political and royal exuberance, they failed to recognize John’s warning as coming from God. Instead of allowing God’s word to arrest him, Herod arrested John and imprisoned him. ‘‘But God’s message cannot be chained up’’ (2 Tim 2:9). Hence, he was perturbed at the voice of John the Baptist sounding room the prison and from the grave!

Our duty is to recognize and accept God’s word for what it is. This is a life-long project. But it must be fulfilled at every moment and every situation of our lives. We must therefore pray for the grace to fulfil this responsibility.


 
Fr Jude Chinwe Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
National Shrine of Our Mother Perpetual Help,
Ugwogo-Nike, Enugu, Nigeria.
Saturday, 2nd August, 2014.