Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 30:1-2.12-15.18-22; Matthew 15:1-2.10-14)
A lovely story is told about St. John Paul II’s visit to the World Youth Day in Toronto. The youth group at a local parish invited a young woman of the streets whom they knew to accompany them to the beloved pope’s mass. The woman, who really was a prostitute, decided to go along. There she was converted by the pope’s graciousness. She said that he changed her life as many men had said to her before that they loved her but that this one meant it. The story mirrors the prophecy of Jeremiah in today’s first reading.
The first half of the prophecy pictures Judah as a forlorn wanton woman, all of whose lovers having forgotten her. In the second part, however, there is a complete change of tenor. God promises to turn the fate of the nation around. It will become strong and happy, and noted especially for its leader. His integrity will be so great that he will approach the majesty of the Most High without having to flinch. Of course, this is a vision of the Lord Jesus.
Too often we see people ruining their lives by following frivolous passions. Sex, drugs, alcohol can lead a people from the road of righteousness down a path to perdition. Jeremiah’s vision today gives us at least a bit of hope that such people are not necessarily lost. We can and should offer our support so that they might return to the Lord.