Jeremiah 26: 1-9
At the beginning of the reign of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, this word came from the Lord: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord; speak to them all the words that I command you; do not hold back a word. It may be that they will listen, all of them, and will turn from their evil way, that I may change my mind about the disaster that I intend to bring on them because of their evil doings. You shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to heed the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently—though you have not heeded— then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.
The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
Psalm 69: 4, 7-9, 13
More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
many are those who would destroy me,
my enemies who accuse me falsely.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.
It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;
the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help
Matthew 13: 54-58
He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
In today’s readings we see holiness attacked and criticized by a community of believers. In Jeremiah’s case, the Lord had called him to correct the people and urge them to return to the Lord and to holiness. In Christ’s case, He was teaching with authority, and at that point in time, was bringing wisdom and knowledge of the word of God and encouraging the people to believe in the fulfillment of His words. In each circumstance, God was calling His people into a relationship with Him. Those who heard Jesus’ and Jeremiah’s words had reason to be excited because God loved them and was fulfilling His promises. But yet the listeners took offense, became obstinate, and sought to harm a prophet and the Son of God.
Today we think of how we respond to God’s word. Sometime’s God’s word challenges us to change. It makes us aware that we need to reconcile with others or repent of a sinful habit. If someone in our house tries to give us the message that God has for us, we may be very reluctant to hear it or deny that our actions are harmful. We can become angry or defensive and insist that we are not in the wrong. We can become angry that someone else is doing a better job pursuing holiness. Our pride gets hurt and we lash out at the prophet in our midst.
Remember that God uses the people all around you to humble you in your impatience, and draw you into holiness by highlighting their virtues. Today, think of how God is speaking to you through your closest family members and friends, and allow yourself to be strengthened in that humility.