The message of our First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, is that God gave this commandment to his people; “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you; so that it may be well with you.” (Jer. 7:23) But the response to this was; “They did not listen to me, or pay attention.” (Jer. 7:26)
In order to understand more clearly what Jeremiah was saying we should look back to the beginning of chapter 7. The people who remained in Jerusalem during the Exile had become lax in their observance of the Commandments. They included foreign gods and idols in their worship. They put their trust in the Temple itself. They made it an idol! Jeremiah confronted them saying, “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’” (Jer. 7:4)
They had put their faith in the building rather than in God.
The Prophet reminded the people of the commandments that God had given Moses on Mount Sinai. Speaking on behalf of God he pointed out those things they had been neglecting. He confronted them, “When I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer.” (Jer. 7:13)
It is now the middle of Lent. We who are gathered here to worship God are, I think, sincerely trying to listen to what God has to say to us. But sometimes we need to bereminded of the pitfalls that were the downfall of earlier generations.
We can see some of those pitfalls if we meditate on the first half of Jeremiah 7.
I don’t think that we are putting our faith in church buildings and chapels instead of in God. But we should also pay attention to the outreach of the Church for the needs of others throughout the world. We can do this by our prayers, but there are also other ways in which we can show the love of God to those in need. One way to do this is by sharing our love; sharing God’s love.
Are you listening? Are you paying attention?
Pray for those in need, and do what each of you can do to help one another love one another.
Please support the Brothers work.
The brothers of SSJE rely on the inspired kindness of friends to sustain our life and our work. We are grateful for the prayers and support provided to us.