Listen and Obey
Readings: Jer 7:23-28; Lk 11:14-23
"This rather is what I commanded them: Listen to My voice." Jer 7:23
"Look, Mommy," said the pre-schooler. "I can make myself invisible. Watch!" And the child closes his eyes tightly and shrugs up his shoulders. "I can still see you a little," smiles the mom.
Many small children try this technique when they're told to do something they don't want to do. Another technique is to turn away. The idea is that, if they hide from or ignore a directive, it will go away.
This is the picture we get of the Israelites in today's first reading. Despite commands from the Lord on how they were to behave, they "turned their backs" to God and paid no heed.
The Lord told Jeremiah that the people wouldn't listen to him, either (v. 27) — just as they had ignored all the prophets that God "untiringly" sent them. What was the command they were ignoring? The beginning of our reading alludes to it: "This rather is what I commanded them." Rather than what?
After God brought them out of Egypt, He "gave them no command concerning holocaust or sacrifice." He didn't ask for any specific show of faithfulness — only obedience (Jer 7:22). Instead, God's people were not trusting in Him. When their prayers weren't answered the way they wanted, they made offerings to other gods, such as Ishtar, goddess of fertility. (See Jer 7:18.)
Do things seem pretty hopeless for Israel?
Luke's Gospel for today gives us hope. Jesus, the one greater than all the prophets, performs miracles and exorcisms. Jesus, the "one stronger" (v. 22) shows that God's kingdom was overpowering Satan's kingdom. Jesus, the perfect example of obedience to the Father, comes to reclaim and restore Israel. Let's place our trust in Him.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that Your mercy is greater than my sins. Forgive me for the times I have turned away from You, and help me to lead a life in obedience to You. Amen.
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Diary of St. Faustina
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