Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time


When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,O LORD, God of hosts.
I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; 
Under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation.


In today’s gospel Jesus describes the great joy of those who have found the “treasure hidden in a field” and the “pearl of great price.” These similes fit well with Jeremiah’s declaration, 

“When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart….”
The gospel has this wonderful power to focus one’s life. Saint Francis cried out, “This is what I want with all my heart!”

Consumers are not trained to expect or wait upon such a discovery. Hearing an evangelist’s invitation to fellowship with God, they ignore it; or, if they’re vaguely intrigued, they look for an experience of God, rather than for God. But mostly they are distracted by the army of marketers who can use every imaginable enticement to prevent God’s voice from being heard. In the last few years, I have seen the coming of the Christian label with its horrible t-shirts, gaudy bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and bumper stickers. “Do you believe in Jesus? I’ve got just the thing for you!”

And so, “Under the weight of your hand” those who hear God’s voice sit “alone.” We should notice that the fellows in Jesus’ stories who find a buried treasure or a valuable pearl tell no one about their discoveries. The digger reburies his find before going off to purchase the field. Apparently it’s immovable, perhaps a lode of valuable ore. It soon becomes a weight too heavy to bear!

Jeremiah complained, “…because you filled me with indignation.” I don’t think any seeker after God can avoid this sentence of solitude and the resentments it will stir up. Suddenly cut out of the herd he or she sits alone with a silent God. The crowd has gone its way, hardly noticing the loss of one member. The extrovert has lost his support system; the introvert is proved in her suspicions, “They never noticed me in the first place.”
Angrily, the seeker blames God for his predicament: “Under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation. Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook, whose waters do not abide!”

The consumer who thought she’d found a pearl of great price finds that it does not sparkle in the dark. She is confronted with a God who cannot be controlled or manipulated. This God insists upon our waiting on Him as we have made others wait on us. He says, in effect, “I’ll not be told what to do, what to say or when to appear!”
Thus the LORD answered me: If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece.

Can I bring forth the precious Good News of Jesus without the vile? Moses, frustrated with his people and their stiff necks, brought the vile out of himself, “Just listen you rebels! Are we to produce water for you out of this rock?” He was supposed to show the mercy of God who produces water in the desert, but instead he struck the rock like an Egyptian magician. As great as he was and deserving of everlasting honor, he suffered the consequence of his momentary slip. He saw from afar but never entered the Promised Land. 
God sends the prophet to speak the word of God to the nation, state, neighborhood or church but it will never be the prophet's own word. The angry, self-appointed prophet can produce only the vile. The word of God is precious

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.