God RE-MEMBERS- Saturday, 26th week in ordinary time- Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary- Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29

God RE-MEMBERS- Saturday, 26th week in ordinary time- Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29

God, in the Old Testament, reminds me of parents in every age. No parent in their right mind gets pleasure from punishing a child, much less sending them into ‘the exile’ of their room or a corner. No punishment comes out of the blue, but is the result of several warnings and many of these are communicated with great love.
True to their nature, children believe they have figured out their parents and assume that this is a game they can beat them at. Foolishly, the children of Israel thought that they could play this childish game of deceit with their God, for they seemed to think that God did not notice their wicked ways.

In this prophetic address, Baruch speaks of the exile, not as a result of an unhinged God, but as consequence of disobedience to the Law of Moses. It is the Israelites who ‘angered’, ‘provoked’ and ‘forgot the everlasting God’. Baruch brings the charges up like a good lawyer representing the state in the face of a people caught several times with more than just their hand in a cookie jar. It is their disobedience that led them to worship other gods. Now that they were caught red handed, the people of Israel realize that it’s too late, for God was justified in His anger and God does not bring trumped up charges.

But even now the time is not too late, for God can never seem to hold His righteous anger for ever. God’s heart certainly seems to melt as quickly as a father who punishes his child; commuting the sentence minutes after it is delivered. If Israel would return to the observance of the law, the exile would end and the people would be permitted to go home to Jerusalem.

Twice in this passage the prophet calls for courage in the face of the harsh reality of the exile. This courage is not some external bravado, but the courage to also acknowledge one’s own failings in order to move on the road to recovery. This road to recovery is assured by God for He will ‘remember’ His people.

Memory is a word not to be taken lightly in the Bible. It is against the constant failing memory of the people of Israel that God has to ask for His mighty deeds to be memorialized. The Passover was a memorial of the saving hand of God who brought them out of slavery. Now Baruch says that the very God who brought the Israelites into exile, as a punishment for their ‘forgetting’ Him, will be ‘remembered’ by God who will lead His people back to Jerusalem.

At our daily Eucharist, we memorialize Christ’s saving work on the cross. The Eucharist is a memorial at which we remember what Jesus did for us and why He did it. It is for this reason that the words of consecration become the sacred words of the liturgy, “do this in memory of me.” Christ calls us to remember His saving action for us. When we remember what Christ did for us we become aware of our own failing memory of His love and are called back to Him.

The Israelites eventually did come back as a community. God had RE-MEMBERED them. Tragically they forgot Him again.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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One thought on “God RE-MEMBERS- Saturday, 26th week in ordinary time- Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary- Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29”

  • I am reading this reflection for the first time although it was written six years ago.

    The second to last paragraph sums it up all…“At our daily Eucharist we…………are called back to him”

    If only we “Do this in memory of him” with passion and love we will continuously remember him.

    Thank you Father for reminding us.

    God bless


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