Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Jeremiah 11:18-20 + John 7:40-53
April 1, 2017
“‘…let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.’”
Of the four major Old Testament prophets, Isaiah tends to be associated with the Season of Advent, and Jeremiah with Lent. The life of a prophet is never easy, but were we to define the prophet by hardships leveled against him, Jeremiah would be the prophet par excellence.
Worldly honor is an earthly good that many go to great lengths to protect. St. Thomas Aquinas cites honor as one of the goods in which fallen man falsely seeks happiness. The Angelic Doctor notes that this is putting the cart before the horse: “…honor is given to a man on account of some excellence in him…. Now a man’s excellence is in proportion, especially to his happiness, which is man’s perfect good….And therefore honor can result from happiness, but happiness cannot principally consist therein.” [Summa Theologica, II-I,2,2 sed contra].
Therefore, when the good of one’s honor is placed above God, a disorder is created. Jeremiah suffered calumny and many other attacks against his name (which symbolically represents one’s honor) because of his fidelity to God’s prophetic message. Recall the last of Jesus’ Beatitudes as recorded by St. Luke: “Blessed are you when people hate you…. Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.”