"Have pity on me, you my friends, for the hand of God is on me."

Friday, 3/22/13

The first reading presents us with Jeremiah who felt terror on every side. Poor Jeremiah! He had never wanted to be a prophet. He had once shouted, “I will speak in his name no more!”

In a way, Jeremiah didn’t need to speak. He was what the Bible called a “type” of the Savior. He prophesied by mutely suffering abuse comparable to what Jesus would suffer.

We have other “types” of the Savior in our lives. I am referring, not to people taunted by Chief Priests and cruel crowds, but to those who feel disease squeezing the life out of them. John Donne said every funeral bell tolls for all of us. We should accept our solidarity with all whose lives are slipping from them.

Let’s get back to Jesus. When the crowds took up rocks, and he escaped to safety across the across the Jordan, how do you think he spent those quiet days? I imagine that the “Letter to the Hebrews” had it right when it said, “In the days when he was in the flesh he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death.”  (Hebrews, 5:7)

When my sister Peg, mother of thirteen, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October, 1992, she said she was strong enough to face death; but at the end, in April of 1993, she said, "I was a fool, telling you I was strong enough. I can take death, but not this dying."

Job was speaking even for Jesus when he said, “Have pity on me, you my friends, for the hand of God is upon me.”  (Job, 19:21) We cannot directly console Jesus, but we can recall him saying, "Whatever you do for the least of my little ones you do for me.”

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