Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7
Today's readings pose a challenging question: Is God's affirmation enough for us? We all want to be liked and approved for what we do, but what do we do when our actions elicit not approval from others but criticism and even persecution? Do we trust in God's affirmation when we know what we are doing is right?
Jeremiah faced this challenge in proclaiming the prophetic message God had given him: "All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. . . .But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion." Amid the severest persecution leading eventually to his death, Jeremiah trusted in the Lord, "for to you I have entrusted my cause."
Jesus faced this challenge in living his vocation as God's messiah: "Many good deeds have I shown you from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" Jesus, continually maligned and persecuted, was faithful to his Father's will, even unto death on the cross.
As we move into Holy Week with Jesus, we realize poignantly that being a faithful disciple of Jesus may not always be easy. God may call us, as God called Jeremiah and Jesus, to stand up for righteousness even though this righteousness may not be acceptable in our communities, in our workplaces, or even in our families.
But we are comforted by the words of the Psalmist: "In my distress
I called upon the Lord and cried out to my God; from his temple he
heard my voice and my cry to him reached his ears." And especially
by the promise of Jesus: "Blessed are they who are persecuted for
the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
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