Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C
Reflecting on Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8-10
I used to listen to the radio all day, every day, when I was a teenager. It was so easy then. The dial never moved, and we could listen to the great music of the sixties late into the night. Thanks to all the great advances in technology I haven’t been able to figure out how to get a station on my car radio in decades. I keep pushing buttons, but all I get is that infuriating static.
The prophets, on the other hand, have figured out the radio frequencies so brilliantly that they can actually find God’s voice on the dial, and they know just where to place themselves so that the signal is loud and clear. Jeremiah, way back in the sixth century B.C., was getting God’s voice in stereo, and the message was unmistakeable: tell the king of Jerusalem to surrender to the Babylonians, for it is God’s will.
What an inconvenient truth this was. They hated him for it, and beat him, threw him in prison, and tossed him down into a muddy cistern to die of starvation at the peak of the famine brought about by the Babylonian siege of the city that he had prophesied for so long. He’d been right, of course. Those who speak for God always are.
We all want to be on the right side of history. We’d love to be the one about whom people say, “If only we had listened.” Or maybe we’re the ones who need to listen. I have a feeling that the words of the prophets are starting to come in loud and clear. Turn your radio on.
Have you ever suffered persecution for telling the truth?
Once day, I had been on my way home from a baby shower for a friend of a friend. This woman was very pregnant and already had another child. They didn’t have much money and I was wondering what I could do to help them out.
While I was driving, my radio started a “search”. I hadn’t touch it, but the radio itself started spending about 5 seconds on a station and then moved to the next one.
The message that came through was “if you had two coats, wouldn’t you share one?” Hearing this totally threw me. I had a second car but hadn’t ever thought to offer to her. I ended up giving her and her family the car – I really felt like God was clearly using an everyday “tool” to talk to me directly…it was awesome, awe inspiring and a bit frighting…