4th Sunday Year C
Theme of the week: We are called to be prophets of God. So go forth boldly to proclaim God’s truth.
Jeremiah lived in the times of the divided kingdom, when the Jewish nation was divided into a northern and a southern kingdom. The First Reading recounts the event where God called Jeremiah to be a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (verse 5) We too are called to be prophets of the Lord; we too are consecrated in our mothers’ womb when we were conceived. In fact, every life is numbered by God at conception; every life is sacred. As prophets in today’s culture, we are called to defend the dignity of every human life, and stand up against all things that demean the dignity of the human person–, be it murder, abortion, euthanasia, or pornography.
Proclaimer of the truth is often not received well. It often exposes us to snares, ridicules or even personal dangers. Hence, living to our call can be daunting. That is why the First Reading goes on to say that once consecrated by God, we are made into “a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall” (verse 18), our enemies will fight us but shall not overcome us. Such is the protection God the Father extends over us.
The Gospel passage continues from last week’s passage. In last week’s passage, quoting the Book of Isaiah, Jesus proclaimed himself to be God. And that is not all. When the Jews demanded that Jesus perform miracles, Jesus rejected them on accounts for their lack of faith. Instead Jesus recalled how the prophet Elijah was sent to a gentile widow (1 Kgs 17:8-24); and how God healed Naaman the Syrian of leprosy (2 Kgs 5:1-14). In other words, salvation is being extended to the faithful gentiles in preference of the unfaithful Jews. On hearing this, the Jews were outraged and wanted to throw Jesus off the cliff. It is here that we witness a fulfilment of God’s promise in the First Reading. Like a true prophet, Jesus was subjected to snares and personal dangers as he proclaimed the truth. But God the Father extended His protection over his prophet. As the mob was about to throw Jeuss over the cliff, Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went on his way” (verse 30).
The Second Reading exults the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love, especially love. It explains that all the gifts from the God would one day be irrelevant, all except one – love. It concluded by saying that of the three, faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love. Why is this so? Let us reflect. On the Last Day, there is no more need for faith, as faith will yield to vision. There is no more need for hope, as hope will yield to fulfilment. Love, on the other hand, endures for all of eternity and is in fact made perfect in the presence of God who is love. It is important that we keep this mind as we go out and proclaim the truth. For ultimately, it is eternal love that we are revealing to our audience.
May the Holy Spirit guide and empower you as you strive forth. Emmanuel, may God be with you.