In this scripture, we find Jeremiah in deep weeds. He is being persecuted because of his message. Seems not everybody wanted to hear it, wanted to change their ways.
In the gospel, Jesus is giving instructions to his disciples on their mission going forward. Interesting words: “Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body…” Not what you want to hear when you set out on a mission! That doesn’t seem to bode well. Again, it seems like sharing the message might be dangerous…especially if the message asks hearers to change their ways.
Change is hard. And we especially fight change if what we have is working for us.
Our country is finding itself in deep weeds these days. What has been true for a long time is that our way of life is not working equally well for all people. And a significant factor in how well the American way of life is working for a particular person is the color of his or her skin.
Now that is hard for me to hear. It is hard for me to hear because I try at all times to treat everyone with respect. It is hard for me to hear because I have never used a racial slur and would be horrified to hear one.
And it is hard for me to hear…because my skin color is working for me.
Really…hard to hear.
Like everyone else, I’ve had challenges and sorrows and losses, things I wanted very much but did not get. But none of that happened to me because of my skin color. No options were unavailable to me, no suspicions have been directed at me, solely because of my skin color.
Living the gospel…
Jeremiah and the disciples were entrusted with a message: The Lord hears the cry of the poor. God considers each and every life valuable, even a sparrow’s. It is the message I am entrusted to live, to share, to facilitate, not only in my personal life but in society, with all that implies for health care, housing, employment, education…every facet of public life. None of us can do it all; but each of us entrusted with that mission can do something. And do it we must, just like Jeremiah, just like those first disciples. Even if it put us in deep weeds.