Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 31:1-7; Matthew 15:21-28)
When finishing their annual Passover meal, Jews say together, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Probably even Jews living in Jerusalem express this hope! For Jews Jerusalem is not so much a place as it is a social state. It is shalom, peace, well-being under God’s protection. It is the kingdom of heaven.
Jeremiah’s prophecy in the first reading promises that the Jews will return to their land which certainly includes Jerusalem. Being chastened for their sins in the desert, as the city of Babylon must have appeared to them, they are ready to return to the Promised Land. The Lord will provide them a safe return. Christians take a broader view of the same prophecy. For them forgiveness of sin comes through immersion into Christ’s death and resurrection in Baptism. It does not put them in Jerusalem so much as it puts Jerusalem in them. The relocation comes about by Christ imparting his Spirit so that each might live intimately with him.
We celebrate Christ’s forgiveness also in the Eucharist. It is a daily or weekly occasion to sense God’s closeness to us. It is also nourishment that we might love our neighbors in truth as God loves us.