Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 15:10.16-21; Matthew 13:44-46)
Webster defines jeremiad as a “lamentation or tale of woe.” The word is derived from the prophet Jeremiah’s frequent complaints. Jeremiads may be found in both the book which bears the prophet's name and the Book of Lamentations. The latter work, however, was probably not the work of the prophet. Today’s first reading presents a good example of a jeremiad.
Jeremiah has tried to tell the people that they have incurred God’s wrath. He has warned them that their infidelity and idolatry have resulted in Babylon’s army coming to invade Jerusalem. But the people do not want to hear his message of woe. They reject him and leave him like a coyote howling in the hills.
Jeremiah’s only recourse is to God. He complains that he has been faithful, but God has not reciprocated. Then he hears the Lord’s judgment. If Jeremiah repents of his feeling sorry for himself, God will make him victorious over those who revile him.
We should feel free like Jeremiah to take our complaints to the Lord in prayer. Perhaps it is a problem with an abusive son or daughter that troubles us. God will hear us but will also want us to be just and firm in our response to the difficulty.