Page 7, 27th January 1995

27th January 1995
Page 7
Page 7, 27th January 1995 — AT THE AGE OF 20, in 626 BC, Jeremiah was

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People: St Paul


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AT THE AGE OF 20, in 626 BC, Jeremiah was

called to be a "prophet to the nations". So he became for a lifetime which ended finally in exile in Egypt.

Today's reading however leaves out the sentence, with which most of us are probably familiar, recording his hesitations. "Ah Lord Yahweh, look I do not know how to speak: I am a child."

Rarely are vocations delivered as clearly as to Jeremiah. In fact, we have almost redefined vocation so that it seems to apply only to priests and religious. But we all have one if we are open to see the signs. It is easy to find excuses. I'm too young, too busy, too uncertain, too uneducated. Forget the excuses. There are jobs for everyone in the building of the Kingdom, both within and without the Church.

St Paul moves us to think about motive. This passage from I Corinthians is one of the most famous in all religious writing: "Love", says St Paul, "is always patient and kind." Without it, however many our good works, we are just a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.It is the passage from St Paul most often read at weddings. St Paul gives a warning. Real love must be ready "to endure whatever comes". That can mean the Cross.

Love is too easy and comfortable a word. We would do well to bear in mind these words from "The Brothers Karamazov" "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams. Love indreams is greedy for immediate action;„ but active love is labour and fortitude."

Finally St Luke tells us about the value of popular applause. Fresh from the Temptations, Our Lord came to Nazareth to launch His public mission in His home town. Those who heard Him at first loved "His gracious words". But religious people can get very angry if it is suggested that some of the more demanding parts of the Gospel message should be taken seriously. Those in the Synagogue at Nazareth were

furious when they understood that they were being compared unfavourably to a racial outsider like Namaan. Public praise is not always, if ever, a reliable guide to Christian living.t

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