Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 26:1-9; Matthew 13:54-58)
The filmmaker Woody Allen has a bleak view of human life. He says that it is “brutal… agonizing, meaningless experience, with some oases, delight some charm and peace, but these are just small oases.” In this vein Allen’s movie characters can commit wanton murder without remorse. Many people might agree with Allen if they thought through the ways in which they live. But they are content with reveling in those infrequent oases that seem to give life a modicum of value.
We can hear the prophet Jeremiah and Jesus in the readings today preaching a message contrary to that of Woody Allen. Through mystical experience they have perceived God’s overwhelming light. So illumined, they proclaim His love for the people and the need that the people recommit themselves to Him. Of course, it seems like too much a promise and too high a price for a people convinced that darkness pervades existence like the clouds of a hurricane. For this reason, they call for Jeremiah’s death and for Jesus’ withdrawal.
Amidst hardship in life – cancer, poverty, and deceit – we continue believing in the prophetic message which Jesus has demonstrated with ultimate clarity. It may be difficult at times, but we refuse to curse both the world’s turmoil and our own trying lot. We see our destiny linked to Jesus’ who had to die on the cross to be raised to eternal life. This hope gives us the courage to profess with our lives that love and virtue are imminently worth the effort.