We stand for God? Thursday, 3rd Week in Lent – Jeremiah 7:23-28/ Luke 11:14-23

We stand for God? Thursday, 3rd Week in Lent – Jeremiah 7:23-28/ Luke 11:14-23

Lent is not a time when the message of God is even remotely made easy for us. We would like words of comfort but that is for another season. Lent is a time when the word of God is not directed at a bygone people and another era who lived in disobedience of God’s law but to a people living in 2024 who perhaps, in many ways, are the same; human nature does not change.

In the Gospel text of today’s readings, Jesus emphatically states, “he who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” You are either with God or you are not; that’s the long and short of it. You live like a citizen of Heaven or you are already living in Hell.

The Gospel of today reflects the ‘some’ who always work as satan’s agents. When God’s works, these ‘some’ shout, ‘satan.’ Satan means deceiver and his army of minions mimics him to the bitter end. Their modus operandi is deception; this is how satan works. Look at the text of today, Jesus has cast out ‘the devil from a dumb man’ who can now speak. The ‘people’ are amazed but ‘some’ cast aspersions on the Son of God claiming he is the agent of the devil.

Even though they are ‘some,’ they always manage to shout as loud as they can, pretending to speak for all. They have mastered the art of being devious. Ironically, the children of light live in their ‘naïve’ world with a muted response to evil that surrounds them. But are the children of light meek and mild? Make no mistake, the same ‘children of light’ (and I speak of practising Catholics) will go to court if someone dared attempt to infringe on their property or infringe on their privileges. Let the reality of the ‘children of light’ be told; they are children of semi-darkness. For Christ, you are with me or against me.

The people of Israel were clearly against God. They made no bones about it. The text of today taken from the prophet Jeremiah, when placed in its context, has this unwelcome prophet stand at the gate of the house of the Lord. The Lord wants his people to change their ways (7:5-7). Yet God knew that this was a “stiffed necked people” (7:26) whose progress report was “worse than their ancestors.” (Verse 26)

God wants us to “obey his voice” (verse 23) and to “walk in his way that he commands.” Yet, verse 24 tells us they did not obey his voice or incline their ear. Israel was unable to even attempt to incline their ear because they had declined their heart and declined his invitation from the time they had come out of Egypt.

There is a hymn in Church that we sang when I was a young man. It was an anthem that the congregation sang with gusto. “We stand for God” reminded us that the foes of God were ever present and it was for us to “raise his standard against these foes.” That hymn, along with the many good traditions of the Catholic Church has been removed by priests and people who have itchy ears.

Of late, fear has filled my heart. It is not a fear I want to impose on you but maybe you experience the same fear in your heart. The ‘standard of God’ is no longer carried into battle boldly by the hierarchy of the Church. We prefer to carry a white flag of surrender; a flag of cowardice and not the red of martyrdom. Incidentally, the cardinals wear red as a reminder that they are the first to shed their blood for Christ.

Fiery and honest preachers are suppressed for the ‘good of the community’. The faith is seen as ‘alive’ in social activity conducted in God’s name. The command to go out and proclaim the good news of salvation is not preached even from the safety of the pulpit. In its place are anecdotes, jokes, and life skills.

Sin is no longer condemned vociferously. Christ did not care if he lost his congregation. We know that when he declared himself to be the bread of life, he was left by the many disciples who had eaten the bread he fed them with; bread for their stomachs. The same is the fate of a Church that only provides bread for the stomach.

The words of Peter, “Lord to whom shall we go?” are not words of fatalistic believers but those who stand under the cross knowing that this is where they belong for there is no other place they would rather be.

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2 thoughts on “We stand for God? Thursday, 3rd Week in Lent – Jeremiah 7:23-28/ Luke 11:14-23”

  • how can we christians proclaim the good news if we act and live the same sinful lives as non-christians? the red topi the bishops wear is for dress parade ONLY! if these shepherds were honest and christ-like, the sheep would learn from their examples and non-christians would RESPECT US AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST.

  • I completely agree with what you have said. I am often dismayed at the lack of response by our Church hierarchy to serious developing situations that greatly offend Christ but also seriously and practically affect the faith and life of God’s people. And some laity advocate not to talk back but pray and let the Holy Spirit work. Does that mean we simply pray for our daily bread lying on the bed and not work for it so then our prayers will be heard and our work blessed and we enjoy the fruit of the earth the labour of our hands? Of course even as we we disagree sometimes at least with the Clergy and religious, we respect them because Jesus has anointed them and given to us for our spiritual well-being!
    God bless you Fr. Warner. You are in my prayers for the healing of your illness.


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