August 14, 2022
Why do bad things happen to good people?
For most of us, we have all asked that question, if not out loud, certainly to ourselves.
Jeremiah was to continue to urge the people not to give in to the pagan surroundings and beliefs, for they were God's Chosen People
Jeremiah's intentions were good, knowing that God had called him and given him a mission, yet there were moments when there were great struggles, difficulties, suffering and even moments of coming very close to death.
The reading that we hear today is Jeremiah in his old age. He has been telling the political leaders and the people not to spend so much time worrying about political power and material possessions, but to make sure that God was present in how they were fulfilling their mission. They were to make the world ready for the coming of the Messiah. The kings at the time were not interested in that; they wanted power and material wealth. They were tired of Jeremiah and so they decided to kill him.
They threw him into a cistern, a deep pit and he was to die by starvation.
However, the reading ends with the king changing his mind and draws Jeremiah out of the cistern before he died.
So again we can ask the question... why did such bad things happen to Jeremiah, who was a prophet, only trying to fulfill the mission that he had been given by God.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus disciples had begun to understand that He is the Messiah, He is the son of God, and his disciples were excited about that.
In their minds they thought he would become a great political leader with great power. They believed that since they had known and even been friends with him Jesus would make them important leaders when his kingdom came.
And yet to their surprise they heard the words that we hear in the Gospel. Jesus has not come to establish peace on earth but rather division.
That is difficult for us to to comprehend because it again ask us the question,
But Jesus makes it very clear that our mission to make God present in the world will involve struggles and difficulties as a part of our journey to eternal life. Jesus showed this in his acceptance of his passion, suffering, and death.
Jeremiah, the prophets, and the saints, understood that they were to make God present in the world in the good times in life, but also in the struggles of life, the moments of having to face rejection, and even death.
The author, St. Paul, understood that part of the race that we all run in our lives today will have moments when we will be discouraged.
We may even ask, why bad things happen to us?
St. Paul understood that there would be moments that we have to carry our cross, the things that happen to us that seem difficult and unfair.
He encouraged the Hebrew Christian community of that time, not to grow weary or lose heart, even in the midst of persecution and struggles and difficulties---even when bad things happened.
We can come to understand that for all of us there will be times when bad things will happen.
Yet we need to remember that the cross is always a part of our journey to eternal life.
There will be moments of great joy, but there will also be great moments of turmoil and struggle, rejection and disappointment which are all a part of our race, our journey to eternal life.