The Good Seed

Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted (Matthew 15:13).

This scripture in today’s gospel (MT 15:1-2, 10-14) reminds me of the parable of the weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). God only plants good seed, but the enemy plants weeds among them. However, when is harvest time, his laborers will “first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning, but gather the wheat into the barn” (Matthew 13:30).

In this world, there will always be weeds among the wheat; war and peace, love and hate, good and evil. Their coexistent is humanity’s imperfection exposed. However, God’s perfection through Jesus’ divinity will free us from the weeds in our lives as today’s psalm reassure us: “The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die” (Psalm 102:20-21).

God loves us as a gardener loves his most precious flower. This may be difficult to believe because of the many heartbreaks we have experienced in our lives. As the prophet Jeremiah tell us “All your lovers have forgotten you, they do not seek you” (Jeremiah 30:14). We can be relieved that God is more than a short-lived love. He is our heavenly Father.

— God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.–

Lessons on Trust

(Commentary on 8/4/14 readings)

And Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet: Listen to this, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you” (Jeremiah 28:15).

In today’s scriptures we hear two very different stories but both share one theme: trust the Lord.

In the Book of Jeremiah (28:1-17), we hear about a false prophet, Hananiah, claiming to speak on behalf of God. Instead of being anxious about this event, Jeremiah calmly rebukes the false message. Why was Jeremiah so confident? Because Jeremiah trusted God’s words on false prophets, “do not fear him” (Deuteronomy 18:22).

In today’s gospel Matthew (14:22-36), Jesus invites Peter to walk with him on the waters. Peter accepts the invitation, but midway through his walk, Peter doubts Jesus’ command and begins to go under until Jesus pulls him out. Jesus goes on to chide Peter: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31b).

Why are their reactions so different? .

Today’s scriptures are meant to contrast Jeremiah’s and Peter’s trust in the Lord; not to measure their righteousness, but to celebrate their humanity and to offer us hope.

Regardless of where we stand in relationship with the Lord, there are occasional failures and successes. Nonetheless, if we persevere and always ask: “Lord, teach me your statutes” (Psalm 119:68b), the Lord will show us how to trust in him as he taught Jeremiah and Peter.

— God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.–

Friends in High Places

But the hand of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah, so they did not hand him over to the people to be put to death (Jeremiah 26:24).

In today’s readings, we witness the advantage of having friends in high places. From the Old Testament (Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24), we hear about threats of death to Jeremiah. However, his life is saved by Ahikam whose father was Shaphan; an influential official in the reign of Josiah, King of Judah.

In today’s gospel (Mathew 14:1-12), we hear about the murder of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. John was a simple man who “wore clothing made of camel’s hair…His food was locust and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4). On the other hand, Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee; a powerful man who enjoyed all the luxury of earthly pleasures.

At first glance it seems that John the Baptist lacked friends in high places. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth because when John poured water from the Jordan River on Jesus, he befriended the most powerful king, the cornerstone of God’s dwelling place. By doing so, it was John whom like David slayed the giant with a single stone, thus saving himself and us from eternal death.

— God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.–

 

On Being Rejected

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and his own house” (Matthew 13:57).

In today’s gospel, Jesus’ native people rejected his teaching. This, too, was the case for Jeremiah whom God instructed: “Stand in the house of the Lord and speak to the inhabitants of all cities of Judah…whatever I commanded you, tell them, and hold nothing back” (Jeremiah 26:2).

I am sure we can all relate to Jesus and Jeremiah’s rejections in our own personal lives. The question we must ask ourselves and reflect upon is: when we look ourselves in the mirror, whom do we see? Do we see Jesus or Jeremiah or do we see those who rejected God’s teachings?

— God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.–