The first reading presents us with a picture of Jeremiah who had to go on day-by-day listening to people plotting to take his life. Jeremiah had once presented himself as a happy fellow who liked nothing more than to meet and chew the fat with friends; but God had thrust his prophetic role on him, and he had to live the life of a hated man.
That reading from Jeremiah fits well with our verses from Matthew’s Gospel. There we listen in to Jesus as he and his disciples made their way up to Jerusalem. Jesus was very human and very sensitive. We hear him groaning with thoughts of the scorn and torture awaiting him.
Looking to his friends for support, he instead had to listen to the disciples arguing over their own greatness. It is too late now for us to join Jesus on that road, offering him some sympathy. In place of that, though, we can turn some meaningful sympathy on one or other of his suffering souls who surround us.
Sister Anne, a friend of mine took a summer course out at Berkley in California, and she happened to room with a nun from Korea. When Sister Anne mentioned Father Tom Sullivan in Jacksonville the sister from Korea said, “We used to have a Father Tom Sullivan in our diocese.”
Sister Anne asked, “What was he like?”
The sister from Korea said, I went to confession to him, and I told him how much I was worried about my father who was very sick; but all Father Sullivan did was look out the window.”
Sister Anne said, “It could be the same Father Sullivan.”