Today’s first reading takes place within the settings of a teenager Jeremiah, a shy and gentle person, called against his better wishes, to proclaim a message contrary to the expectations of those around him. Consequently, his life will have a big share of rejection and failure.
The celebration today connects Jesus with this rejected figure of Jeremiah. Jesus having read from Prophet Isaiah last Sunday, is met with hostility in his home synagogue. His own people knowing him merely as Joseph’s son cannot accept the challenge to respond to his message.
The second reading gives an insight into the early church community at Corinth which has disagreements about which charism/gift was best. St. Paul offers a way above all others; a way of love. It is the greatest of God’s gifts and the one that endures. The psalm is a song of hope and trust and encourages the prophets of the Lord, who in the face of rejection, persecution and even death, they are delivered and saved by the Lord.
What is the learning from this Sunday readings? I pray for the hope and trust that allows me to go forward with my life, my participation into my church community and my working place, my job and my withering relationship even in the face of misunderstanding and rejection. I will develop my attitudes centered on love and not judgmental and rejection of others. Above all, I will identify my vocation within my Christian community and offer myself to demonstrate the three gifts of Faith, Hope and love. Love will animate all the other gifts God has given me.
Moreover, take this small Christian community method of scripture sharing and meditation, and try it with your family and friends:
Open the bible and become aware that you are in the presence of a loving God, the giver of all the gifts you have. Read the lines from St. Paul’s reading to you now, and slowly. How does this make you feel? Do you feel any resistance? Or hope?
Acknowledge how you have imperfectly used the gifts received from the Lord and sometimes with or without gratitude to God and your neighbor.
Pause and be confident that God is a loving and not a rejecting God. Think how he knows you and he has given you all the gifts you need. Ponder again more deeply about your understanding of love. Can you substitute your own name for word love?
See Jesus of Nazareth offering you a way of living that is wholly inclusive. Who are the excluded that Jesus wants you to welcome? Who are they today?
Think of how you want your prayer to end. Or do you want to remain in the empty synagogue pondering who Jesus is and what his teachings mean in your life?
When ready, make a sign of the cross and end your prayer.
Joy and Peace.