"I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty."
There are many examples of lessons taught by God throughout the Bible, but the lesson he teaches Jeremiah is, in the least, an interesting one. God tells Jeremiah, a prophet who is struggling to teach his peers about the Word of God, to go out and purchase a linen loincloth, to wear it for some time, to hide it under a rock, and eventually, to go retrieve it. Jeremiah does so obediently, never questioning God, although others may have thought the commands were strange. After all, he finds the loincloth to be ruined, just as the people of Israel had come to be.
God chose the people of Israel specifically with high hopes and expectations, just as he commanded Jeremiah to purchase a linen loincloth (I like to think that the loincloth, as it was specifically supposed to be a linen loincloth, was of high quality just as God’s chosen people were to be). Additionally, just as a loincloth clings to the wearer, God wanted his chosen people to cling to him. However, the people became rotten just as the loincloth did, disgusting God. God wanted the people to cling to him and his Word, but they did not listen.
In the Gospel reading, Matthew mentions some of Jesus’ parables, most notably the one about the mustard seed. If one allows the Word of God to grow in his/her soul, the effects are insurmountable. As it is summer, I like to help my family with our garden. They start small as seeds, but with a little nurturing every day, great flowers and foods result. If we neglect them, the plants will wither and die, just as God feared for the souls of his people. If we cling to God just as he desires we do, and take even just a little bit of time every day for him, great things can grow in and through us.