16th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year II

Today’s First Reading from Jeremiah shows that a prophecy, being the Word of God, not only speaks to its first listeners, but to all its listeners. Jeremiah describes a future Jerusalem shepherded by good and holy leaders, and a future where the Ark of the Covenant would lose the prominence it had among the Israelites. Why mention the Ark? First, because in that moment of its history the Israelites were in danger of idolatrizing the Ark and the Temple as a guarantee that the Lord would be with them and defend them whether they were pleasing to him or not (he wouldn’t). Second, because the Ark was the core of their belief in the Lord being among them and the Lord interacting with them; drawing close to the Ark meant drawing close to the Lord, which is why it was kept in the heart of the Temple.

In a future renewed Jerusalem the Lord wouldn’t use an Ark; he would use all of Jerusalem as his throne, not just the top of the Ark, known as the mercy seat where the glory of the Lord used to rest while appearing to Moses. As the Ark was to Israel now the entire city of Jerusalem would be, a more majestic and imposing presence of the Lord amidst his People. The Church has been described in the Book of Revelation as the Heavenly Jerusalem. Even as Jeremiah was describing a renewed and restored Jerusalem he was also describing the Church, guided by good and holy pastors, and the Mystical Body of Christ, a presence of the Lord amidst his people unprecedented in salvation history.

The Lord has committed himself to us unconditionally. Let’s respond in kind.

Readings: Jeremiah 3:14–17; Jeremiah 31:10–12d, 13; Matthew 13:18–23. See also 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday and 16th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.