Day 256: Hard seasons

Jeremiah 51:1-44 Continuing the image of the hammer, God said through Jeremiah that he used Babylon as his hammer, his instrument for inflicting punishment. The destruction of the Temple would lead to a resounding defeat of the Babylonians on the part of the Medes and other forces from the north. Ultimately, the Persians overthrew Babylon.

Ch 51:45-58 Turning to the exiles in Babylon, Jeremiah assured them that God would punish the Babylonians eventually for their injustices and that the Jewish people would return to Judah. 

Ch 51:59-64 This brief passage is an account of a letter sent from Jeremiah to the Babylonians warning them of their impending destruction.

Lamentations 4:1-22 A terrible famine added to the misery of the people after the fall of Jerusalem. This dire situation caused the people to suffer a grinding poverty and to live in squalor. Moreover, those in exile suffered over the absence of a homeland.

Ch 4:20 This verse has sometimes been interpreted as a Christological prophecy. Origen saw the “shadow” as an image, or symbol of the Incarnation. St. Irenaeus interpreted the same word as referring to Christ’s Body, battered and bruised, in his Passion and Death.

Ch 5:1-22 The fifth and final lament is a heartfelt prayer for God’s mercy and the deliverance of his suffering people. These verses describe Jerusalem as a land without joy, affected by lawlessness and chaos. 

Ch 5:21 Restore of old: Conversion is always the result of grace in concert with good will. Only through the grace of God can a person be moved to repentance and conversion to a life of committed holiness. The contemplation of God’s immense love cultivates sorrow for sin and the subsequent eagerness to embrace God’s will and Commandments. (CCC 1432)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you so much. Gosh, Lord God, thank you. Thank you for bringing us to this day. Thank you for bringing us almost all the way through The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. And thank you for bringing us through this book of The Lamentations of Jeremiah. Lord God, just like when we walked with Job, our friend, like when we walked with Tobit, like when we walked with all the people who suffered so much and they cried out to you that their suffering was real. Their suffering was profound. And yet they didn’t trust in you. Lord God, please help us that when our suffering is real that we don’t stop trusting you. That when it seems like you have abandoned us that we can see the truth and we can know the truth and we can live in that truth. That truth that you’ve never abandoned us, but we have abandoned you. So bring us back. Bring us back to you, Lord God, this day and every day so that we can live in the Eternal Day, that Great Day, in your Presence and in your Power. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”