December 20, 2007 – Jeremiah, the Prophet – The Person and the MessageThis reflection on Jeremiah was written and offered during Advent (December 20, 2007) as we awaited the birth of Jesus.
For specific verses to pray with Jeremiah as Jesus might have prayed, go to the following page for Reflections with Jeremiah.
For notes on the similarities between Jeremiah, Jesus and ourselves, read below . . .
Jesus spent time reflecting on the prophecy of Jeremiah, knowing that . . . Life is a process. It is a long and slow birth. God is the midwife. We are the babe.
From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE Reader’s Guide: “More than anyone else Jeremiah steps out of the pages of the Old Testament, a type and model of Jesus Christ. Isaiah announces the promised Messiah by words, Jeremiah by his life. As we glance through this prophecy, so many details parallel the life and ministry of Jesus that it is not surprising to hear the answer to Jesus’ question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’. (Mt 16,14) Because with Jeremiah it was more a matter of works than words, God was offering in Jeremiah a model for imitation rather than a message for study”. (Senior RG 304)
When we look for direction in our lives, we might turn to Jeremiah just as we turn to Jesus. Both Jesus and Jeremiah are . . .
- Confirmed in grace from the mother’s womb (Jer 1,5; Lk 1,26-38)
- Unmarried (Jer 16,1f)
- Hounded by hometown citizens and family (Jer 12,6; Lk 4,24.29)
- Weeping over Jerusalem (Jer 8, 23; Lk 19,41)
- Speaking of the temple as a “den of thieves” (Jer 7,11; Mt 21,13)
- Consulted secretly and fearfully by those who believe (Jer 37, 17; Jn 3,1f)
- Foreseeing a new covenant (Jer 31,31-34; Lk 22,20) (Senior 305)
More from Donald Senior: “In the prophecy of Jeremiah, hopes and visions, doubts and hesitations, anger and resentment, arguments and pleading, persecution and rejection, perseverance and bonding – all these emotions and events tear apart the prophet’s fragile temperament and fling themselves upon the pages of this prophecy. Nowhere else in the Old Testament does the eternal, invisible God become so involved in human experience and communicate so much within it as the person of Jeremiah . . . The humanity of this inspired writer includes the struggles to know what God wants and then the courage to seek it, step by step, at times with missteps and a return to the right path, eventually with wisdom and peace . . . Jeremiah’s struggles tell us that the biblical message comes to us not simply as a finished, polished discourse (as we often find in the prophecy of Isaiah) but as an intuition, or to use Jeremiah’s words, as a “fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones” (20,9). Jeremiah frequently provides us with a message on its way to becoming the final word of God, struggling to come to birth and seemingly lost in the dark birth canal, an example used by Jeremiah (20,17). (Senior 305)
When we look at both the list of emotions and the events above, who among us cannot derive something from Jeremiah’s life and his story? Who among us does not yearn for communication from God to tell us what to do or how to be? Who has not miss-stepped, sought courage, looked for the right path, or wisdom or peace?
Life is a process. It is a long and slow birth. God is the midwife. We are the babe.
See the next page for Reflections with Jeremiah
Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 304-305. Print.
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