Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Readings: Jer 18:18-20; PS 31:5-6, 14, 15-16; Mt 20:17-28
Note: In this early part of Lent our focus is on the compunction or allowing the penetration of the words of Jesus in relation to our own actions. Sin has many disguises.
We have the confidence to probe our own thinking as we are confident in the mercy of God. We have embraced the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ (life, passion, death, and resurrection) as an article of both historical fact and the faithful act of God for our salvation.
We are resisting our tendency to be trapped in the Slavery of the Senses where we evaluate things at the temporal sensory level alone without a mind to the purpose and eternal significance of our life.
So let us engage today’s reading.
Here we have the conspiracy against Jeremiah as a foretaste of the conspiracy against Jesus. They are very unhappy with what Jesus teaches in regard to the ethical and moral understanding of the Mosaic Law. This is their source of power: being the authority of what is the intention and meaning of sacred Scripture and Tradition.
What is s startling is that in the quotation they are both admitting the wrongness of their actions and the false promise that this evil they are going to perpetrate will not effect their standing with God and the Faith.
Read carefully here:
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.
“It will not mean the loss…” contriving a plot against Jesus will not mean the loss of holiness.
Note: It would be preposterous to suggest the statement concerning loss is that Jesus is invalidating Wisdom and Prophets. He is not doing that. He is invalidating the powerful of Jerusalem.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life. R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
Jesus is well aware of where this is going.
Power is seductive and subtle.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached wants Jesus to appoint James and John to be at his right hand and left hand at the throne of power. She wants them to have their just rewards.
I suspect she was unaware of the teaching prediction of Jesus to the tweleve:
Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.
She had a good sense of their commitment and their eventual reward but she missed the path they must travel.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink.
The pathway to the chalice is not alliance or advantage.
But we must imitate Jesus:
the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
What are we giving our life for?
A good answer is to serve and give one’s life as a ransom according to our situation and capacity.
Compunction question: Are you plotting death or are you the ransom?
Peace be with you,