Reflection based on readings for Saturday daily Mass, click here for readings on USCCB website.
“O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me, Lest I become like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.” Psalm 7:2-3
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your constant protection and guidance. As we continue through Lent, help us to surrender all our needs to You. May we see You and the path You have laid out for us as our refuge, our path to salvation. Amen.
In My God I Take Refuge
One truth that can be expressed as a poignant summary for our readings today is, “You cannot please everyone.” For the prophet Jeremiah his lot appears to be that he can please no one save for God. But at this point in the book, Jeremiah does not know just how the people of Israel see him. God reveals to him the plots of men, Jeremiah says, “I knew their plot because the LORD informed me.” And then God gives the lines that are a strong prefigurement of what life will be like for Jesus, “Yet I, like a trusting lam led to slaughter.”
For Jesus, His experience is different. Jesus knows the hearts of men. He knows that some are beginning to see Him as the messiah, some think that He is only a prophet because their understanding of scripture and Jesus’s early life are not yet understood by them. They do not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and is a descendant of David. And then even for Jesus there are those, like those for Jeremiah, were planning to kill him.
And that is where we get this beautiful detail for Jesus, the guards who were sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees could not lay hands on him. In their hearts, something was stirring in them to recognize true justice. The guards do not have the hardness of heart that the chief priests and the Pharisees do. They hear Jesus speak and Jesus’s words open their hearts to say, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
Perhaps it is these words of the guards that gives one of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, the courage to speak up. He even invokes the law to try and reason with the others, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” And this statement rather than bringing unity through reasoning, reveals division, scattering. “Then each went to his own house.” And given our Psalm we can ask, where is their refuge? Who are they looking to for strength?
For us on our Lenten journey, we can ask ourselves, ‘Are we hearing God speak?’ Are we hearing God if things are going well for us? Are we hearing God in our struggle? When we pray, when we fast, when we give alms, and when we read scripture, do we see that God is with us to strengthen us? When we hear Jesus speaking to us in prayer are we like the guards who say, ‘Never before has anyone spoken like this man,’ or are we like the chief priests and Pharisees, who in their pride think that they have it all figured out? Where is your refuge?
May God richly bless you!