22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time A20
In the Gospel last week when Jesus asked his disciples who do others say the Son of Man is, they included one prophet by name, Jeremiah. This week we get a disturbing prayer from him that is filled with complaints against God and lays out his confusion about his calling. To understand this outburst, it would be helpful to read Chapter 1 which is about his call to be a prophet.
Jeremiah was none too eager to take up the mantle of prophesy, making an excuse by saying he was too young, not knowing how to speak. But God was insistent. “Say not “I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you.” “See, I place my words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.” So far, so good.
But years later, Jeremiah thought he was duped, misled, and enticed by God. He proclaimed a message of destruction to the people to whom he belonged and a city he loved. As if this is not enough, he saw his written scroll burned page by page by the king. He was scourged because he declared that the Temple and its sacrifice will be destroyed like Shiloh and that the Law which they gloried in has been changed into falsehood by the scribes. Still it hadn’t happened yet. As a result he became an object of laughter and mockery. Where were God and his promised deliverance? He wanted to walk away and forget the whole thing. But he couldn’t. He was helpless under the Lord’s power. Sometimes duty or a vocation demands of us to do something other than what we desire. Jeremiah knew and lived that.
We have a choice to follow Jesus to the cross or not, to take up others’ mockery or run the other way, to save our lives or to lose them for Jesus’ sake.
With Peter, we can protest about the suffering when he expected glory for Jesus, his master, and for himself on whom Jesus would build His Church. With Jeremiah, we can say we have been duped, misled, or enticed and try to turn away.
There is a reason why the cross has become the symbol of Christian faith, for without the cross there is no resurrection.
 Jer. 1:7-8.
 Jer. 1:9b-10.