August 3, 2012 - Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 26:1-9
Psalm 69:5, 8-10, 14
Matthew 13:54-58

We have had particular reason lately to sympathize with Jeremiah and the other prophets who were condemned for their unpopular messages. In every age the prophetic word is despised. We love but we are accused of hate. We condemn no one, yet we are condemned as judgmental. We courageously say the obvious but unpopular truth, but are called phobic and fearful.

But we understand that it is no different than in the time of Jeremiah. He warned the people to follow the Lord lest their city be destroyed. They are angry that he would speak of their city being destroyed, as if his very point were not to prevent that from happening. He tries to save Jerusalem and is called the destroyer of the city. So too Jesus returns home. He teaches the people with wisdom and mighty signs of power, proving that he is not just the son of a carpenter, but the people take offense at him because the son of a carpenter should not be working miracles all over the country.

Evil tends to be all mixed up. Sometimes the devil accuses us of that very thing which we know we are guilty of and has power over us because he knows our sins, but often, it seems, the accusation is such mixed up nonsense that it would seem to have no power except that all the people agree that the nonsense is reason.

So a certain wicked man accused Blessed Theresa of Calcutta of not caring for the poor because she did not run for political office, he accused her of not caring for the dying because she did not provide medical care in the slums of Calcutta, he accused her of not respecting the people because she often baptized them. She did nothing he wanted her to do. She merely carried the dying poor from the gutters and streets to a home where she bathed their wounds and talked to them and brought them into fellowship with the Church, making them her brothers and sisters, from untouchable to children of God.

So too the Church is accused of hating women because she is opposed to drugs and surgeries that by their nature reveal a hatred of the female body. And she is accused of hating sex because we believe that sex is so important that it must begin with a solemn public ceremony binding the pair until death. The nonsense is repeated again and again, and people believe it.