I remember the class so well.
I was a sophomore in college
It was supposed to be on liturgy but it was more a class on life
The professor, a younger friar, was talking about worship.
He explained that worship was not about paying your dues
or putting in your time,
or fulfilling your Sunday obligation.
Worship was rather about
giving your time,
giving your energy,
giving your attention,
giving even your physical presence
giving your very self to God.
Worship was about loving he said.
Have you ever been in love he asked us ?
There was awkward silence in the classroom,
no one knew what to say.
Most of us felt loved by our families,
some of us had felt that we had experience being in love in relationships.
When someone explained that to him.. he asked again...
Have you ever loved ?
“Love he said “is about losing yourself in the mystery of another
Not loosing yourself against your will, but rather
sometimes desiring despite yourself
to give yourself completely to another.
I have always thought of that class whenever I have heard Jeremiah’s lament.
“You have duped me Lord and I allowed myself to be duped”
One author I read says that it could also read
You have seduced me Lord and I allowed myself to be seduced.
Jeremiah lamented because he was in love,
He found himself lost in God and God’s will.
He wanted run
He wanted hide
But he couldn’t
He was like a bug attracted to a light
It approaches the light at great risk because the bulb is hot and dangerous
But it just can’t seem to free itself for its power.
Jeremiah suffered greatly because of his love
as he proclaimed God’s prophecies
His neighbors, his friends, his family, laughed at him
Had God not promised that the reign of David and his ancestors would last for ever
No matter what suffering it caused him
Jeremiah could not be silent
Love compelled him to speak without counting the cost.
In the second Reading Paul pleads with the Romans to kind do the same thing
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”
A living sacrifice…. Not a dead one
He is not asking the Romans to kill themselves and place their dead bodies on an altar
Rather Paul asks them to give their lives to God
He asks them to give their lives to each other.
He encourages them to do this by living as God would have them live
And following God’s will and God’s law.
In other words
He pleads with them to be allow themselves to be compelled by love
In the Gospel surprise the very same theme is found
After Peter’s profession of faith which we heard last week the mystery is gone
The word is out.
Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
And almost immediately Jesus begins to instruct the apostles on the type of Messiah he must be
Like Paul asked the Romans
Jesus trys to explain that he is compelled by love
Love will calls him to make of his life a living sacrifice.
He will not be rich or powerful
Love will compel him to accept the cross
Jesus did not just walk up to the cross and jump on.
He allowed himself to be taken
to be tried
and be killed in the most brutal way
And just like following God’s will was a struggle for Jeremiah
Being compelled by love was not easy for Jesus
Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane he pleaded with God to take the cup away from him
Yet his love for God and us allowed him to offer his life for many.
His response to Peter is so harsh because just when he needed Peter to help him
Peter tried to give him an easy way out.
Peter encouraged him not to love or follow God’s will.
Peter was an obstacle rather than the help that Jesus needed
What does this all have to say to us ?
Jeremiah could not be silent
Love compelled him to speak the truths revealed to him by God
He outlived 5 kings all of whom tried to silence him
He was exiled, tormented, made fun of and even thrown in a well
but he could not be silent.
From Jeremiah we learn the power of love and perseverence
Just like God duped or seduced Jeremiah
God is constantly trying to seduce us
Have we fallen in love?
Have we allowed ourselves to be duped?
If our soul is not thirsty for God?
If we are not duped
If we are not a living sacrifice
What are we thirsty for ?
What are we drawn to ?
What is our light ?
What has caught our eye ?
What is the object of our affection?
And is it Good or Godly ?
Does what we long for make us better people
or God forbid
are we the object of our love
are we lost in ourselves our wishes our wants
Peter was Jesus' dear friend
In the end Peter would die upside down rather than renounce Jesus and his teaching
Jesus needed Peter at that moment to help him walk the road that God was calling Him to. Peter failed him
You kind of have to feel sorry for Peter he just didn't know any better
Yet all of us have the obligation to be the best we can be so that when moments like this come and our friends need us we are able to help them encourage them build them up.
Our call to holiness in not just about our own salvation but also involves the salvation of those we care about.
We have to grow in holiness for each other.
If we don't then we will fail like Peter.
We will fail when people important to us need us the most.
Today the Scriptures give us three important examples...
Jeremiah was lost in God... and refused to give up his mission
Paul begged us to offer our lives to God..
Jesus allowed himself to be lost in God...
Have you ever been in love… the friar asked us.
Have your ever allowed yourself to be lost in another
Have you allowed yourself to be lost in God.... a very important questions indeed