Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time – 18 August 2019


Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10             Luke 12 : 49-53

Today we are presented with the tragic figure of Jeremiah who has been thrown into the mud. This image must be one of the most pathetic images in all of Scripture. Here is the great prophet – representative of God – and counsellor to Kings – totally dejected, thrown into a cistern and left for dead. Jeremiah is stuck in the mud.

In all of our lives our struggles with faith and the crisis in our lives often leave us stuck in the mud. So often we end up stuck going nowhere. Our prayer is empty, our church going is dull and boring. We can’t pull ourselves out and then some Ebed-melech comes to save us from the cistern.

In our secular society today we see a cooling of belief and Christian faith. Jeremiah lived out his faith within the machinations of state politics, at times persecuted for what views he held. He was committed to the truth of his   conscience, he had a vision of faith that enabled him to go beyond what was immediately relevant.

In the gospel Jesus tells us that standing for truth is no easier today than it was for Jeremiah or his earliest followers. Jesus, just like Jeremiah, proclaimed a message of reform and rebirth – which would result in division. Jesus sees his role as that of setting “the earth on fire”.

On a number of occasions in recent weeks I have found myself reflecting on truth, as I have watched our Parliament debate the Bills on age assisted death and the reform of the Abortion Act.

In the debates there seems to be a shallowness that is devoid of any real search for truth. Nowhere do I hear members speak in regard to the Mystery of Life.

In a society ruled by science and proof it’s hard to come to terms with Mystery. When we reduce the Mystery of Life to the horizontal we too will end up stuck in the mud going nowhere.

An authentic life grapples with mystery – its beginnings and endings are apart of that awesome Mystery.

It is the bold vision of faith that sees life as mystery rather than something that we regard as immediately relevant.

In the Christian Vision of things it is the truth that will set us free.

As Christians may we be genuine searchers for truth and be ready and willing to share that truth in gentle and authentic ways with others.

Monsignor Paul Farmer



Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email