Jeremiah 31-33; Mark 1

Posted June 19, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith, Uncategorized

Jeremiah 31:15  Thus says the LORD: In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing, bitter weeping!  Rachel mourns for here children, she refused to be consoled for her children – they are no more!

I was greatly despondent after the Irish referendum, especially the scenes of jubilant women celebrating their anticipated new right to kill their unborn children.  We have come along way – the wrong way – from the words of Kahlil Gibran on children:

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Trying to write about this subject is sucking the spirit right out of me.  I want to thunder and inveigh, and just don’t have it in me right now.  I weep with Rachel.

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Jeremiah 28-30; Matthew 28

Posted June 15, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Matthew 28:17  When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.  Amazing what these disciples went through and witnessed their three years in following Jesus, and still they doubted.  So we should not beat ourselves up too much – those who have not seen yet still believe – when we struggle with doubts and difficulties.  Yet ultimately these doubts and difficulties do not excuse us.  In the words of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”  Pray every day for the gifts of the Holy Spirit!

Jeremiah 25-27; Matthew 27

Posted June 14, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Jeremiah 26

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD: Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the house of the LORD and speak to the inhabitants of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD; whatever I command you, tell them, and hold nothing back. Perhaps they will listen and turn, all of them from their evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I plan to inflict upon them for their evil deeds. Say to them: Thus says the LORD: If you do not obey me, by walking according to the law I set before you and listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I kept sending you, even though you do not listen to them, I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth. Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests, the prophets, and all the people laid hold of him, crying, “You must die! Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD: ‘This house shall become like Shiloh,’ and ‘This city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. When the princes of Judah heard about these things, they came up from the house of the king to the house of the LORD and convened at the New Gate of the house of the LORD. The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people, “Sentence this man to death! He has prophesied against this city! You heard it with your own ears.” Jeremiah said to the princes and all the people: “It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city everything you have heard. Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will have a change of heart regarding the evil he has spoken against you. As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what is good and right in your eyes. But you should certainly know that by putting me to death, you bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and its inhabitants. For in truth it was the LORDwho sent me to you, to speak all these words for you to hear.” Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve a death sentence; it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us.” At this, some of the elders of the land arose and said to the whole assembly of the people, “Micah of Moresheth used to prophesy in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and he said to all the people of Judah: Thus says the LORD of hosts:

“Zion shall be plowed as a field, Jerusalem, a heap of ruins, and the temple mount, a forest ridge.”

 Did Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah condemn him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, so that the LORD had a change of heart regarding the evil he had spoken against them? We, however, are about to do great evil against ourselves.”

 There was another man who used to prophesy in the name of the LORD, Uriah, son of Shemaiah, from Kiriath-jearim; he prophesied against this city and this land the same message as Jeremiah. When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and princes heard his words, the king sought to have him killed. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan, son of Achbor, and others with him into Egypt, and they brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to Jehoiakim the king, who struck him down with the sword and threw his corpse into the common burial ground. But the hand of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah, so they did not hand him over to the people to be put to death.

 Jeremiah 26 is very cinematic – I’m casting Liam Neeson as Jeremiah, and Steve Buscemi as Uriah (Donald Trump as King Jehoiakim? “Jeremiah, you’re fired”) – and striking in the fate of the two prophets.  Jeremiah trusted in God, “faced the music” – a testimony to his trust – while Uriah did not.  How often in our own lives do we “flee to Egypt”?

 

Jeremiah 22-24; Matthew 26

Posted June 12, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Matthew 26:39  He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

That night in Gethsemane Jesus is the perfect model of petitionary prayer.  Ask for what you want, but always keep in mind you are not God, and He undoubtedly knows better than you what you truly need.  I am being treated for cancer, and naturally I want to be cured, and have prayed for it, but at the same time I know that might not be ultimately part of God’s plan here on earth.  To be like a little child – to merit the Kingdom – is simply to trust.

Jeremiah 19-21; Matthew 25

Posted June 8, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Matthew 25:31:46  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

When reflecting on the right way to live one’s life,  I highly recommend this Scripture.  It’s a stern repudiation of sola fide, justification by faith alone.  One’s love for Jesus must manifest itself in the world by the love of one’s neighbor.  And this is no piece of cake; as G. K. Chesterton said, God calls us to love both our neighbor and our enemy, and they are often the same person.

Jeremiah 16-18; Matthew 24

Posted June 7, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Jeremiah 16:19-21

Lord, my strength, my fortress, my refuge in the day of distress!  To you the nations will come from the ends of the earth to say, “Our ancestors inherited mere frauds, empty, worthless.

Can human beings make for themselves gods?  But these are not gods at all!

Therefore, I will indeed give them knowledge; this time I will make them acknowledge My strength and my power: they shall know that my name is LORD.

There has been a strong movement since the so-called Enlightenment – what often is called “modernity” – to erect the idol of Man, and it seems more and more bow to this idol.  Will humanity one day exclaim as the nations in Jeremiah “But these are not gods at all!” or will Jesus return to find no faith left on earth?

Jeremiah 13-15; Matthew 23

Posted June 5, 2018 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Jeremiah 13:20-23, 27

Lift up your eyes and see those coming in from the north. Where is the flock entrusted to you, your splendid sheep?  What will you say when rulers are appointed over your, those you taught to be allies? Will not pains seize you, like those of a woman giving birth?  If you say to yourself: “Why have these things happened to me?” For your great guilt your skirts are stripped away and you are violated. Can Ethiopians change their skin, leopards their spots? As easily would you be able to do good, accustomed to evil as you are. …Woe to you, Jerusalem! How long will it be before you are clean?

Matthew 23:33-38

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate.

 I was just struck by the similar themes of these concurrent readings, God and Jesus’ intertwined sternness and love for the leadership of the people.  Pray every day for our leadership in the Church, especially the Holy Father and our pastors.