In the Gospel people took up rocks, throwing them at Jesus. Some of them might have hit him. In the first reading Jeremiah received similar treatment. He heard people shouting, “Denounce him! Let us denounce him.”
We should not just rush past descriptions of how Jesus and Jeremiah stood up to abuse. For myself, it helps to remember times I have suffered attacks.
Once a young man and I were passing by a country road in Florida when I recalled that a Korean lady living down that road had asked me to stop by sometime. The young fellow and I got out of the car. Then, when I inquired about the lady’s house, some guys, taking us for men with evil intent, began punching us. It felt so strange. The unexpected insult more than the blows hurt the young man and me.
Let me tell another sad story. I had been judged guilty of a driving misdemeanor in Georgia. A clerk mistakenly entered it as a felony; then a year later another clerk, coming across it, alerted the police that I was an escaped felon. Coming in from golf one day I was met by two policemen who handcuffed and jailed me. I was lined up with twenty other prisoners brought in that day; and the sergeant, saying I looked good for my age, asked the other prisoners if they thought I was still capable of anything. The next afternoon the clerical mistake was uncovered, and I was saved from being transported to Georgia. The misdemeanor charge was also dropped.
That night and day in jail involved a series of unpleasant incidents; but on the whole I was happy to have been given a very small sample of what Jesus suffered for us.