Friday of the 5th Week of Lent

We can all feel a little bit neurotic.  At times, I’m sure we’ve all felt that people were out to get us.  Or maybe we’ve felt as though someone has worked to undermine us or humiliate us.  Well, if we have, then we’re not alone.  In fact, we’re in very good company: in today’s readings Jeremiah, David, and Our Lord have to deal with public smearing, threats, and betrayal.

But how do we respond when we find ourselves in awkward and uncomfortable situations?  Do we echo Jeremiah’s plea: “O Lord God of hosts … Let me witness the vengeance you take on them”?  Or do you follow Our Lord’s teaching: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

Place yourself in Jeremiah’s shoes.  He had been given the difficult task of proclaiming prophecies concerning God’s judgment to his fellow citizens.  He prayed that God would have mercy on them, but the people repaid him with plots to kill him.  In fact, Jeremiah’s prayer today follows the discovery of a second plot to kill him.

Although Jeremiah adds a sharp, vengeful request to his prayer, he still exemplifies an admirable response to injustice and malice.  He takes his broken heart to God.  And such a sign of trust pleases God.  He comforts Jeremiah and gives him strength for his task; God rescues him from “the power of the wicked” who were out to get him.

We can come before God in the same way.  It doesn’t upset him to hear our frustration.  In fact, it’s much better to let it out than to keep it in.  God knows our heart, and he is always ready to give us his heart as we pour out ours to him.

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