- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

March 15, 2017

John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

2nd Wednesday Of Lent
Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28

Both of the readings today are very somber in tone. They speak of violent death to both of the central persons of the inspired passages. More specifically they recount the awareness of the two  central figures  that they were to encounter deadly persecution. Yet there remains an important difference between the two protagonists. After recounting how  “The people of Juda and the citizens of Jerusalem said ‘Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.’” The prophet had some loyal followers who must have informed him of this plan to trap him by his own words. He quotes them as saying: ”Let us destroy him by his own tongue, let us carefully note his every word. ”What made this hostility more grievous”, as the prophet states in his prayer to God, is the fact that he had prayed for the very persons who now sought to trap him and find an excuse to put him to death. In our own times there are whole Christian Churches living under the same threat, a sizeable number of their fellow Christians have already been slain and remain in imminent danger.  We do well to keep hem in our prayer that they persevere and find speedy relief. As Jeremiah states at the end of today’s text: “(O Lord) Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.”

In St. Matthew’s Gospel we just heard our Lord warning his  twelve apostles as he began his journey to Jerusalem that “the Son of Man will be handed over to the chef pr9iests and the scribes and they will condemn him to death.” Though he went on to add that “he will be raised on the third day”, yet the apostles were unable to realize the significance of this warning, although the two sons of Zebedee sincerely thought they could persevere in persecution.  The Event when it came a short while later proved them weaker than they had thought. Anyone who has suddenly been confronted with real hostility discovers how overwhelming  the challenge can be felt.

Today’s readings remind us of our vulnerability so that we strive day by day to prove faithful to our Lord in all our doings and seek to grow in our trust in his love and merciful grace. This daily Eucharist offers us a strong stimulus to heighten our efforts to remain united with our Savior by adhering to God’s will in all our doings.