Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
(Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28)
In Greek mythology Cassandra is the daughter of King Priam of Troy who was endowed with the gift of prophecy but also cursed with the fortune of never being believed. She predicted the fall of Troy and even the folly of bringing the artificial horse inside the city. Her countrymen and women thought she was crazy and suffered the terrible consequences of ignoring her. In the first reading today Jeremiah is pictured Cassandra-like.
Jeremiah knows that Judah’s unfaithfulness to God will bring about its ruin. He urges the people to desist in their flirtations with foreign gods, but he is more than ignored. The people plot to have him killed. Not long afterwards Jerusalem will be destroyed and many of its inhabitants carried into exile. In the gospel passage Jesus makes similar warnings of doom, yet his disciples have difficulty listening. They show themselves more concerned about politics than about reforming their lives.
Hopefully we will do better. There are plenty of signs indicating a deterioration of fundamental human values in our midst. Abortion and “homosexual marriage” come handily to mind. There are also indicators of positive social development such as the decrease of violent crimes. Now, however, we are called to take to heart what Jesus teaches: that we rededicate ourselves to the service of all.