THURSDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT
READ: JER. 17: 5-10
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds..
There is an old saying that goes, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans".
While it's meant to be a joke, it's also relatable. How often do we make plans (big or small) that are thwarted by circumstances beyond our control. It's as if God is laughing at us.
In todays reading the Prophet Jeremiah (inspired by the Lord) draws a sharp distinction between the curse of "trusting human beings" and the blessing of "trusting God". At the time Jeremiah was prophesying, the King, Zedekiah, was making unsavory deals with other nations that provided short term stability, but caused the kingdom to turn away from God, and forget their identity as His people. As a result of these deals, Zedekiah put his kingdom in a position of disadvantage. The nation of Babylon would take advantage of the situation, decide to take over the kingdom, and exile the Israelites from the promised land. In this context, we can see our passage as a warning.
Either we "trust men", meaning we place our hope in ourselves, lean on our own understanding, and try to make our own way through life without God; or we trust God, having faith that despite appearances, He is not laughing at us, but is on our side, and will ultimately, "work all things to the good for those who love Him" (Rom. 8:28).
We are challenged to place our trust, to submit, to God's plan. Not just in providence, but in all the places where we are tempted to impose our own "plan". In our relationships, our understanding of morality, how we approach other people's problems and flaws, wherever we are tempted to think we know better than God or his authentic representatives. When we make the choice to live out God's plan over our own, we enter into a life of true blessing, real peace, lasting joy, and fruitful love.
Jesus brings us back to the Father by submitting to His plan. How can we imitate Him more this Lent?
What are the differences between the "curse" and the "blessing" in today's reading? How do you think they metaphorically apply to your life?
Where are you tempted to impose your "plan" for living instead of God's?
How can we come to a better understanding of God's plan for our lives?
RESPOND: PS 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. Not so, the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
How are you going trust God's plan this week?