Jer 14:17-22; Ps 79:8,9,11,13; Mt 13:36-43
With great urgency we cry out to the LORD. With today’s psalm we pray, “May your compassion quickly come to us.” As in every Mass repentance is on our lips, we plead: LORD do not remember the iniquities of the past. Indeed, our guilt brings us very low. We recognize how powerful sin is to bring us down to drain our energy and creativity. Without the mercy of God we cannot arise and come to the Father. We cannot recognize who we are, loved sinners and beloved children of God. It is the God our savior who rescues us because of the glory of his name. For his own sake the LORD desires to pardon our sins so that those who gaze upon our lives might see his glory, clear and manifest. Like prisoners we sigh in our prayer of petition. We rely upon the LORD to free us from the power of death, in body, mind, or spirit. It is the kindness of God and his great mercy that calls forth our prayer of thanksgiving. Indeed, we cannot give thanks enough for all that the LORD has done for us. These great movements in prayer bring us to the most silent and wordless moment of adoration. For generations to come we will adore, praise, and magnify the Name of the LORD. Like the Prophet Jeremiah we cry out day and night to the LORD who alone forgives and heals us in all our infirmity. In our constant prayer we encounter the Lord Jesus who is our resurrection and our life, here and now and forever and ever.
Because of our faith the tragedies and pains of life bring us constantly into prayer, we are moved to turn to the LORD who alone has heard and answered our tears. When our lives overflow with sadness without rest, our tears become the most profound prayer. When we cannot say anything else, tears become our bread by night and day. The Prophet Jeremiah beheld with eyes of faith the great destruction of the virgin daughter of God’s people. It is the silent wetness of our tears that honestly admits and brings before the LORD the incurable wound. The Father’s ultimate response to such suffering is the continued presence of the wounds of his crucified Son. Even after his resurrection the Lord Jesus still bears his wounds. Not only so we might recognize him as the Crucified and Risen Lord, we also need to recognize that the Lord Jesus still touches our incurable wounds by the power of his own wounds. Indeed, buy his wounds we are all healed. For the people of Jeremiah’s time, there is the pain of exile. The fields are filled with swollen and slain corpses. The cities are overflowing with the emptiness of so many who hunger in flesh and spirit. The priests and prophets are strangers in a strange land. They forage in a promised land that they do not recognize. Why has the LORD struck us with such a blow? Peace evades our souls and healing flees from our bodies. Terror abounds, and fear conquers us completely. In such a time of panic and pain the prophets dare to whisper the uncomfortable truth, “We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you.” Indeed, the inescapable truth is proclaimed, and it gives voice to genuine repentance, “For your name’s sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not.” The very identity of our God, his glory, is questioned in our prayer of agony. Why are we struck with a blow so devastating? Only in the honesty of such confession is the Prophet able to offer any hope. He reminds us that no idol offers us rain. No mere heavenly body can send us showers. It is the LORD alone who hides himself in our misery. He alone has aroused us to repentance and prayer. It is his power to redeem us, and his desire to save us that gives hope. This is the message of Jeremiah and each preacher of the truth during every time of despair and desperation. In this place of intimacy with the Lord Jesus we learn about the future. Not just our future, but also the future of the whole world.
Indeed, the Son of Man will send his angels to gather all evildoers and those who caused others to sin into the fiery furnace. These will wail and grind their teeth. These have ears but hear not. The weeds sown by the Evil One can bring us despair and defeat, or they can be recognized for what they are in the blazing sunshine of His Glory. The future holds justice—true justice and total mercy—for this we long. In our waiting and in our longing we take refuge in prayer. In this tent of meeting we come face to face with the Lord who has taken on the face of our humanity even as he reveals the Face of God. Here, where we are so familiar, there is such gracious kindness and tender mercy. Here, the Father has compassion on his children through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Here, the Father breathes on us the Holy Spirit and we finally begin to live in the fear of the Lord. No longer are we afraid of God, who pardons our wickedness and sins. Rather, we live in the Holy Spirit’s gift of the Fear of the Lord through we are no longer afraid of God. Here the Lord receives us, as his own, and we recognize in His Face our own transformed humanity. The glory for which we were created and toward which we journey—taking time to linger in the tent of meeting to hear his voice: “I am God and you are not.”