17th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

In today’s First Reading the Lord presents Israel to Jeremiah as if it were clay being molded. Wet clay can be spun into all sorts of shapes until it is fired into it’s final shape; then it hardens and will shatter if you try to shape in into something else. The Book of Genesis describes man as being molded from dust and into God’s image and likeness (see Gen 1:26, 2:7), much like wet clay. When man does good he reflects the image of God in him and makes God praiseworthy in the eyes of others; when he does bad, he disfigures it and makes others question the “artist.” The more man is disfigured, the more society is disfigured, because evil makes its mark, and peoples’ conception of God becomes disfigured too.

In today’s First Reading the Lord describes his patient and repeated efforts to shape Israel again into what it should be, just as a potter keeps working the clay until the shape he desires is formed. Christ is the image of the invisible God (see Col 1:15): in becoming man he shows us the pattern for being and living the image and likeness of God. We present a very interesting project; imagine a  clay that is always trying to shape itself, even as the potter is trying to help it take form. Our choices always shape us, but Our Lord also always shows us the choices we should make to form ourselves into something that gives glory to God. He also shapes us with his grace, if we let him.

Let’s pray for a greater docility to what the “potter” wants to shape of us and our lives.

Readings: Jeremiah 18:1–6; Psalm 146:1b–6b; Matthew 13:47–53. See also 17th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday.