“Do not be afraid.” God sees and knows everything. No one is going to get away with anything and anyone can be saved by trusting that God has it all in hand. I feel that one of my greatest fears is that my life and my opinion will count for nothing. I fear that what I say will be discounted and mocked. It may even be true of society and the world but it is not true with God. Nothing I say or do will be discounted. There is great sorrow in life when we hope in worldly acknowledgement because in order to get that, we must follow the opinion of the world.
In today’s First Reading, the professional prophets had to go along with the king and not stir from the status quo. They got their worldly acclamation and they perished with that kingdom. It is the same with our professional prophets of today - they go along with the declining society and will perish with them, as will we if we go along with them too. Where are we being fed from? Where are we getting our information? If you want a morally depraved information containing slanted views that will help us further sink, we can get it from any news source. Where are we going to find that balance that takes away our fear and gives us the freedom to stand alone and next to God? As Christians, we must always stand with Jesus firmly rooted in His love, because only His love will cast out the fear we have so as to live being different. I think there is a great fear of not being part of the group to stand in. Yet in standing with Jesus, we have freedom and joy.
I found the readings today give me so much hope that what I say and do have meaning and significance. The name, “Jeremiah,” tells me that God does not forget. He sees all and Jeremiah still lives because he knew that God sees all. One of my friends told me a story about her roommate who is non-Catholic. A friend of them both asked the roommate why my friend and her fiancé were not living together. The non-Catholic roommate said, “Oh, because they are Catholic.” The person who asked the question then unleashed on the lady’s non-Catholic friend about the evils of Catholicism, to which the non-Catholic friend explained the truths she had learned from her Catholic friend. At the end of the conversation the attacker was humbled and said, “I guess I do not know that much about the Catholic faith.” I was so impressed by this non-Catholic and I am sure God was as well because He saw it and loved it, because He said in the Gospel, “If you acknowledge me before others, I will acknowledge you before my Father.”
Therefore brethren we must look at our own lives. Are we trying to fit in with the world and impress it or are we free to stand alone? One new convert to the faith told me that since becoming Catholic, he finds it hard to watch movies because he sees how the media is often trying to conform us to their morals, how they are slowly eroding our morals, or mocking them, filling us with doubt about the truth. We, as Catholics, must get back to Jesus, get back to our Bibles, get back to the love of Jesus so we can be prophets to the nation and stand up without fear because God does see all and does not forget our good deeds and delights when we share the Gospel.
One final point if we want to be what we are called to be, we must give God more time in our lives. One thing that we as Christians must do is have time each year for God to really speak to us. Most of us have vacation plans and we go to get refreshed; how many of us think to use that time to go on retreat or a pilgrimage so that our lives could be reshaped by Christ?