Jer 26:11-16, 24
You can’t listen to the story of the Prophet Jeremiah, our first reading these days, without thinking about the passion of Jesus. In fact, readings from the Book of Jeremiah are the dominant readings for Holy Week. We see Jesus in Jeremiah.
God tells Jeremiah to “hold nothing back,” but speak the truth to those in power, no matter how unpopular it is. Jesus did the same.
Like Jeremiah, Jesus was innocent, but was framed by the powerful as guilty. They questioned his authority, but he would not deny his mission.
Only a few voices seem to stand up for Jeremiah and only a few stood up for Jesus. Neither had many faithful followers at their time of trial. Yet both were carried along by God’s power and their names vindicated.
Our gospel reading recalling the lonely death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod Antipas adds him to this brave company.
Some would have us see our faith as a ticket to success. Believe and nothing bad will happen to you. Yet, as you look at Jesus, the prophets and the saints, you see a more realistic picture of faith. We’re promised victory, yes, but only by accepting the mystery of the cross.
Keep an eye on Jeremiah and John. Keep an eye on the passion of Jesus. Follow them.
- Fr. Victor Hoagland, C.P