Posts Tagged ‘Baruch’

Monday, September 6, 2021

hebrew-bibleJeremiah 36


Jeremiah is restricted – he can no longer visit the Temple – and so he sends his secretary to read out the words of prophecy. Baruch writes out the words sent by God and they are delivered to the King and his collaborators.  They listen . . . and then the King burns the scroll, thinking that he might manipulate God by obliterating his word. He is, of course, wrong.  And Jeremiah, in faithful dedication to God, re-dictates the message he has been asked to deliver. We might well wonder what emotion Jeremiah experiences most deeply. Is it anger, sadness, regret, anxiety, a sense of uselessness? Does he believe that he has failed? Or is he able to calm any negative emotion as he complies with God’s plan of guiding the people to the place they need to be? Does he somehow reach serenity about his predicament? Does he believe that he has failed God in some way?

When we believe we have fallen short in a task that God has put before us, we must turn back to God when we experience regret.  We must look for consolation, and God – being goodness itself – will always bring us back, even when we doubt that God constantly makes even the impossible possible. The mini-reflection in MAGNIFICAT yesterday evening puts things in its proper perspective: Peace lies in surrendering to the Lord in trust and living by his love, not in fretting over the wrongs done by others.  Undue concern over evils we cannot mend prevents us in taking true delight in him.  “By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies”.  Isaiah 30:15.  Commit your life to the Lord, trust in him and he will act . . . Be still before the Lord and wait in patience; do not fret at the one who prospers; one who makes evil plots to bring down the needy and the poor.  Calm your anger and forget your rage; do not fret, it only leads to evil . . . A little while longer – and the wicked shall have gone.  Look at his place, he is not there.  Psalm 37

These verses bring us relief when we believe that we have failed; they offer us a refuge of calm when terror grips us. When we witness the king burning God’s message brought by a faithful servant, when we believe that pain and anguish have been experienced for nothing . . . when the panic descends to seize our senses, these are the verses that are God’s very breath upon us.  These are the verses we share today . . . hoping that we will not need them often.

Image from: http://www.catholic-convert.com/blog/2014/04/30/why-protestants-reject-7-books-of-the-bible-the-short-answer/

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 27.1 (2010). Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 28, 2010.  

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Monday, February 17, 2013

Baruch 6Little Gods 

Worshiping the Golden Calf

Nicolas Pouisson: The Adoration of the Golden Calf

Baruch, the prophet Jeremiah’s faithful secretary, paints a clear contrast for us between false, little gods and the one, true and living God; he leaves us with no doubt that pagan deities are nothing more than air while God is good and God is great.  As useless as one’s broken tools are their gods, set up in their houses; their eyes are full of dust from those who enter.  If we take time today we might discover where we have placed our little gods whom we tend to night and day.  And we might also consider how and when and why we tend to our relationship with the Living God . . . and all that our God has done for us even during those times when we allow ourselves to be lured away.

They are wooden, gilded and silvered; they will later be known for frauds.  To all peoples and to all kings it will be clear that they are not gods, but human handiwork; and that God’s work is not in them.  Yet we slide into easy comfort as we worship fashions that ebb and flow, sports figures who bring home temporary trophies, and television or Hollywood personalities who sap our time and energy by drawing us in to their tragedies and triumphs.

Despite the gold that covers them for adornment, unless someone wipes away the corrosion, they do not shine; nor did they feel anything when they were molded. 

The petty gods of our addictions, the small, little gods of our vain ambitions, the trivial gods of our toxic relationships hold sway over us as we tend to them more than we tend to the people in our lives.

If they fall to the ground the worshipers must raise them up.  They neither move of themselves if one sets them upright, nor come upright if they fall; but one puts gifts beside them as beside the dead.

These tiny and silly gods must be cared for by those in the household or they wither and decay.  They do not give life, they do not revive the dead, and they do not encourage the living.

How then can one not know that these are no-gods, which do not save themselves either from war or disaster?

Why do we allow these trifling and senseless gods into our lives?  Why do we tend to these meaningless gods who must be served and cosseted?  They do not save, they do not rescue, and they do not transform.

The Gospel reading on this First Sunday in the Lenten season retells the story of Satan’s attempt to lure Jesus to himself and way from God.  We watch Jesus deftly manage the skilled arguments by resting in the knowing that God is all and that God alone is enough.  Why can we not rest in this same knowledge?

Jesus is tired and hungry from his fast in the desert and Satan believes him an easy target, but in the end Jesus relies on God alone.  Why cannot we rely on this one true source of life?

Even after Jesus dispatches Satan we read: When the devil had finished every temptation, departed from him for a time.  We must keep watch against these little daily assaults.  We must check in constantly with God who redeems and saves.

And so we pray . . .

Good and generous God, keep our hands away from our broken and useless tools and hold us in your own steady hands. Help us to see beneath the gilding and artifice to the emptiness inside our little gods.  Guide us in seeing that our futile gods cause us too much work and too much anguish.  Call us to see that you serve us more than we can ever serve you. Continue to keep us from the dark world of wars and disaster.  And keep us always in your light. Amen. 

Adapted from a post written on February 17, 2013.

The Book of Baruch was written during the Maccabean era and for this reason is not always included in all versions of the Bible and some versions, while they do contain the letter of Jeremiah’s secretary, do not include the last chapter. Click on the scripture link above to explore this marvelous closing to Baruch’s letter. For more on Baruchvisit: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2006604 

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_calf

To read more about Matthew’s story of Satan and Jesus, see The Temptations page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-temptations/

To read a reflection on Luke’s version of this story, see The Test post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/01/03/the-test/

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Jeremiah 45: Living as Remnant

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

During Easter Week we have celebrated our return from Captivity, our release from all that holds us back.  Today we return to Jeremiah to take a last look at what it means to live as remnant either when we are left behind as others are taken from us, or when we live in exile from all that we love.   Written on December 15, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

In today’s Noontime reading we can see clearly that God is in charge.  He can, and will, break down what he has built and pluck up what he has planted.  Baruch, the man who wrote down Jeremiah’s oracles in about the year 605 B.C.E., is promised here that his own life will be spared.  Baruch will be a part of the remnant who will receive life as a prize of war in every place to which he may go. 

Being remnant is difficult work which calls for perseverance and patience with both the world and self.  Today’s first reading at Mass is from the prophet Zephaniah (3:1-2, 9-13) who also cries out woe is me!  He, like Baruch, is overwhelmed by the madness and corruption he sees around him and he writes of the rebellious and the polluted who hear no voice and accept no correction.  They have not trusted in the Lord and to them God has not drawn near.  They leave behind them, in the wake of their churning lives, many who are brokenhearted, many who see great possibility, many who are ignored by those in power.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT mini-reflection: The prophet Zephaniah makes clear that the world is in sore need of the redeeming presence of Christ who will be revealed not among the powerful who use their power for evil but among the poor and powerless who seek the Lord in poverty of heart.  These are the remnant who remain faithful through all hardships. 

As we have already said, being remnant is difficult work and just this morning I was thinking of how many times in our lives we are called to share a vision we have . . . only to be ignored by those who have it in their power to do good . . . but who have something else in mind.

How do we live as remnant in the face of so much ignorance and willful neglect of the spirit?  We empty ourselves of our own goals and agendas.  We open ourselves to the Word of God who longs to dwell within each of us.  And we take this presence with us in every place to which we may go. 

This is the only certain way to live as remnant because to live with our own agendas means that we are one of those who oppress . . . and it also means that we are lost.

This is imperative: That if we wish to conduct a life worth living, we must remain always in . . . for . . . and with Christ.  For this is the only way to live as remnant.

A re-post from April 16, 2012.

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 15 DECEMBER 2009. Print.

Image from: http://catherinewhite.com/rough-ideas/2008/12/5—remnant—winter-solstice.html 

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