Usually on a weekend liturgy, the First Reading, the Psalm and the Gospel mesh, and the Second Reading is out in left field somewhere. But this weekend, the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, they really do work together to send a message of love.
In the First Reading from Jeremiah, it’s almost like God is pleading with Jeremiah to believe in God’s love and fidelity. “Before I formed you, I knew you as though I would leave you I am with you to deliver you.”
In the Psalm, we hear this response: “In you, O Lord, I take refuge. In your justice rescue me save me You are my hope, OLord on you I depend.” This time, we are speaking to God with an undertone of desperation. Our plea is not to be abandoned.
The Second Reading is the beautiful symphony to Love in I Corinthians. It ties together Jeremiah and the Psalm by saying that we (the Lord and you and me) are entwined in a love relationship that is beyond our understanding. The Lord Jesus is madly in love with us and wants us to believe and understand that. It’s the negative voice within ourselves that keeps us from enjoying that love, because it constantly harps on how awful I am, how unworthy I am to be loved by Jesus and his Father.
In the Gospel the crowds refuse to believe, and drive Jesus way. But he doesn’t stay away. He came back. He returned. He returns again and again to those who doubt, to those who are hurting, who are in pain, who are frightened, who are ashamed and guilty. You and I are worthy of Jesus’ love and mercy not because of what we do or don’t do, but simply because of who we are: God’s beloved. Wow!!
Be God’s smile for someone today!