Day 236: Rich in Love
Jeremiah 16:1-21 The Lord commanded Jeremiah to become symbolically the victim of the punishments that awaited Judah. By remaining celibate, Jeremiah spared his would-be wife and children from the coming tribulations. The avoidance of funerals signified the high death toll that would make ritual burials impossible, and his absence from festivals indicated the loss of joy that would be suffered for a long period of time. Since the people had forsaken God for idolatry, they would be chastised by their enemies, the “fishers” and “hunters” of the prophecy. Nevertheless, God also promised those in exile would return home in peace.
Ch 17:1-13 These verses, reflecting the wisdom literature in Proverbs and Psalms, speak of God’s perfect knowledge to judge everyone with infallible justice. (CCC 679, 682)
Ch 17:5-7 God is All-knowing, All-loving, and All-powerful as well as our most loving Creator and Father. Therefore, it is most fitting to put our complete trust in him. No other person or thing deserves the trust that we place in God. (CCC 150)
Ch 17:14-18 The people were critical of Jeremiah because the dire events he predicted had not yet taken place. The prophet was not eager to see destruction; nevertheless, he felt that he was being made to look foolish by the delay in punishment.
Ch 17:19-27 Jeremiah called upon the people to observe the Sabbath according to the Law. They would be blessed if they did so but would face consequences if they did not. (CCC 2168-2173)
Ezekiel 45:1-25 The description of the allotment of the land is largely symbolic in that it places the Temple-the center of worship and the place of God’s presence-in the middle of the territory of Israel. The prince took on the role of a good king, conscientious of securing justice for all and living an upright and exemplary life. Traditional annual feasts were to be restored and celebrated properly. (CCC 1836, 2698)
Ch 46:1-24 Lesser feasts called for specific sacrifice and rituals. The land of the prince had to remain in his possession, particularly considering the law of the jubilee in which all properties revert to their original owners every half-century. Strict regulations were given for the preparation of Temple offerings so as to minimize the risk of anyone having physical contact with the particular offering. (CCC 1096, 1168, 1171, 1438)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Proverbs 15:17, 20 are GREAT
OBVIOUSLY THEY’RE ALL GREAT
Proverbs 15:17, “Better a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.” (Well that depends on if it’s a tomahawk ribeye...I could put up with a lot of hate for one of those 🤪 JUST KIDDING!! Carry on….)
Here’s a dinner of herbs (mmmm cilantro!!)
So you’ve got a salad
It’s just vegetables
Better for that than and love a fatted ox and hatred
That difference being not in the material goods, although material goods are real
A dinner with salad with a side of love rather than a fatted ox with a side of hatred
Isn’t that real?
How many times have we heard of stories of people who are INCREDIBLY WEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL?
In their own HEARTS, everything has fallen apart
That’s not for us to rejoice in, to say “Well that serves them right, for being wealthy.”
That’s not true
That’s not accurate
But we realize material goods are GOODS
There are BETTER GOODS
HAVING A FAMILY
HAVING THE LORD
HAVING FAITH IN GOD
So better to be someone who’s poor and has FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE than someone who is incredibly wealthy and HAS NONE OF THOSE THINGS
Proverbs 15:20, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”
Both moms and dads are represented in this Proverb and represented well
We recognize that wise children bring glory
The joy of fathers and mothers
That foolishness despises his mother and makes her weep
Years ago, Fr. Mike’s mom went to a talk with his dad
Dr. Patch Adams was a speaker (remember him and his clown noses? 😉)
He was speaking to the spouses of doctors
His mom passes on a message from Dr. Patch Adams, “You are only as happy as your least happy child.”
OH MY GOSH THAT’S COMPLETELY TRUE!!
Fr. Mike is one of 6 children
That reality is that 5 could be doing REALLY WELL
And if ONE is struggling, the heart of a mom or dad is GRIEVED
This goes back to Jeremiah Ch 16
God made it clear to Jeremiah that he was NOT TO HAVE A WIFE
HE WOULD NOT HAVE KIDS
The reason was because of this GRIEF
The reality that those men and women who have been called to the Sacrament of Matrimony and the Family, WHAT A GIFT IT IS
TO BE A FATHER
TO BE A MOTHER
AT THE SAME TIME YOU KNOW THE GREAT COST OF THIS GIFT
Those of you who are husbands and wives, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, mee maws and paw paws, appachans and ammamas, abuelos and abuelas, it costs you a lot to LOVE SO DEEPLY
It costs to LOVE YOUR SPOUSE when your spouse isn’t very lovely
It costs to LOVE YOUR CHILDREN when your children are IN PAIN
So that’s one of the things that God says, “Hey Jeremiah, I’m going to spare you this. You’re going to not be married so that you can be spared this pain. Because destruction is coming upon Jerusalem. I want you to be a sign to the people that in this case it would be better to not be parents.”
OBVIOUSLY, THAT IS A MOMENTARY SIGN FOR JEREMIAH
PAIN IS COMING
PAIN IS REAL
Even in that same Chapter 16
Jeremiah 16:14, “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.’”
How many times in 236 Days have we heard God’s word say, “Hey, teach to your children what God has done for them.”
“Teach to your children that he has set us free from slavery in Egypt.”
“That is what you need to repeat again and again.”
Jeremiah 16:14-15, “The days are coming when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt’, but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land which I gave to their fathers.”
Basically, the days are coming when you don’t have to just point to the past redemption and rescue of the people of Israel from EGYPT
The days are going to come when you yourselves will be rescued and redeemed from BABYLON and from all the countries to which you are exiled.
Jeremiah is staring down the barrel at this exile that is happening
Jeremiah is also staring down the barrel and God is going to do something REMARKABLE AND INCREDIBLE, “So you just don’t have to look back and see what God did for our ancestors. But here is what God did for ME.”
THAT IS JUST INCREDIBLE!!
SO SO POWERFUL!!
Jeremiah Ch 17 is Judah’s Sin and Shame
It’s exactly what we heard before
TRUST IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD
Jeremiah 17:5, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes his flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
There is NO PROMISE there
There is NO POWER there
Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…”
This is a REPEATED THEME
It’s even in Psalm 1 and other places
Jeremiah 17:8, “He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it's not anxious in the year of drought…”
BECAUSE IT IS PLANTED IN THE RIGHT PLACE!!
THIS IS FOR ALL OF US
THAT NEED TO BE PLANTED IN THE RIGHT PLACE
TO TRUST IN THE LORD GOD AS THE SOURCE OF OUR LIFE!
SO MANY OF US ARE TEMPTED TO TRUST ANYTHING ELSE OTHER THAN GOD!!
One last thing about Jeremiah Ch 17
Jeremiah 17:21, “Thus says the Lord: Take heed for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem…”
YOU MUST REST ON THE SABBATH!!
God is saying, “When you do this, then the Messiah will come. When you do this, the KING is going to be back in place. The one you are waiting for is going to REIGN.”
IT IS SO IMPORTANT WHEN WE SEE THE CONTEXT FOR LATER ON WITH THE PHARISEES
When Jesus heals the man on the mat and tells him to take up his mat and go home
The Pharisees say, “Why are you carrying your mat on the sabbath day?”
We can look at that as 21st Century Christians and say, “Gosh, those Pharisees were WAY OUT OF CONTROL!”
Jeremiah and the Word of the Lord makes it SO CLEAR that when that day comes, when people DO NOT CARRY A BURDEN ON THE SABBATH
WHEN THEY ENTER INTO REST ON THE SABBATH
THEN THE MESSIAH WILL COME
So it was CONFUSING to the Pharisees
“Wait a second this person, who we think might actually be the Messiah, told someone to carry a burden on the Sabbath.”
So maybe we can be a little bit more EMPATHETIC AND PATIENT with the Pharisees
On to Ezekiel
Tomorrow is our last day with Ezekiel
It’s been such an incredible gift to walk with this Prophet
As Ezekiel sees the Temple, what happens?
There are so many visions and deep things
Ezekiel 46:9, “...he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate; and he who enters by the south gate shall return by the north gate.”
When you come into the LORD’S PRESENCE
And you give him the WORSHIP HE DESERVES
THEN YOU CANNOT JUST GO BACK THE SAME WAY THAT YOU CAME!!
YOU CANNOT REMAIN THE SAME AS YOU WERE BEFORE YOU OFFERED HIM WORSHIP, BEFORE YOU OFFERED HIM THE SACRIFICE!!
IT HAS TO CHANGE YOU!!
That is something SO POWERFUL FOR EVERY ONE OF US
As we come to Mass and realize, “I can NEVER EVER EVER go home the way I arrived. The whole point of this is not just to give God glory that He may be glorified, He may be known, He may be exalted, He may be worshiped, and He may be praised.”
THAT WE MIGHT BE CHANGED!!
THAT WE MIGHT BE TRANSFORMED!!
THAT WE MIGHT BE DIFFERENT!!
So we make that decision as well
WE NEVER EVER WANT TO LEAVE WORSHIP THE WAY THAT WE ARRIVED IN WORSHIP
In order to do that, GUESS WHAT?
WE NEED GOD’S GRACE!
WE CANNOT JUST CHANGE OURSELVES!
WE NEED GOD’S HELP TO CHANGE US!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Thank you for bringing us to Day 236. What a gift that you are. And what a gift each day, gosh Lord, this entire time, every one of these days, none of them are days that we deserve. Every one of them is a day that you have given to us as a free gift. And all you ask is that we simply receive it. All you ask is that we receive it with gratitude and thanksgiving knowing that none of these days is anything that any of us have ever deserved. And so you simply ask us to receive it. And then on top of receiving it, to use it just for your glory. To say yes to you. To say yes to your gift. And to receive this gift that you may be glorified. And to use this gift that your children might be helped, loved, and cared for. And so please, Lord God, help us to receive this day as your gift. Days of difficulty and days of blessing, but also help us to use this day. Help us to use this difficulty that comes with today so that those around us who are carrying heavy burdens might carry a little bit lighter burdens because of us. Help us to glorify you. Help us to lift up our brothers and sisters. Help us to let you love us. And help us to love you in return. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”