We endure many difficult things in our lives: stress, poor health, bad habits, addictions, death, depression, anger, hatred, marital strife, jealousy, insomnia, anxiety, and the list could go on and on.
The Prophet Jeremiah is told that he is going to endure many difficult things. Why did God tell this to Jeremiah? Because the Lord God needed Jeremiah to be strong.
The Lord God says to Jeremiah: I formed you in the womb. Before you were born, I knew you. I dedicated you. I appointed you. As if I’d leave you crushed. I am with you to deliver you.
The people of Corinth had a difficult time too. They were people who were jealous, pompous, inflated, rude, quick to judge and quick to lose their tempers.
Even Jesus runs into trouble. The people from his hometown turn their backs on him. They are jealous. They are worried about their own interest. They are really angry. So angry, they wanted to kill him.
If we are honest, we know that all of us in some way have a difficult time and we often have these same bad attitudes. We are not really all that honest. We are prone to jealousy.
We can be a bit pompous and full of ourselves. We tend to seek our own interests and are quick tempered when things don’t go our way.
How can be become strong like the prophet Jeremiah? How can we become strong like Jesus? Where does our strength come from?
It’s clear from the first reading that Jeremiah’s power has to come from God. It’s also clear in the Gospel that Jesus’ power comes from his divinity, from being God’s only begotten son.
We can get tied up in the illusion that we can somehow take the Spirit of God and control it, using it for our own purposes.
But Jesus gives himself over completely. He lets himself be filled with the Holy Spirit. He gives himself over to the divine power working in him. So does the Prophet Jeremiah.
How do we become powerful in the Spirit? Saint Paul says to let the Spirit of God fill us with love, love that is kind and caring.
Not pompous, but self giving. Not jealous, but kind and caring. Not inflated, but humble. Not rude, but loving and forgiving. Not quick tempered, but patient.
Like Jeremiah and like Jesus, the Lord God knows us, the Lord God dedicates us, the Lord God appoints us. As if the Lord God would crush us. Rather, the Lord is with us, to deliver us from all the difficult things we endure in life.