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Reaching out with Compassion

(Jer 1.4-5,17-19;1 Cor 12.31-13.13; Lk 4.21-30)

It’s so tempting to feel just like Jeremiah. 

Bombarded by the passionate and fierce voices of anti-vaxxers, QAnon and pro-abortionists, it is easy to feel isolated and vulnerable. 

Our Catholic wisdom and heritage can seem almost anaemic and powerless. We may not like Jesus risk getting thrown down over a cliff; yet it may seem that we will be discarded and tossed onto the rubbish heap of what is portrayed as an out-dated and harmful ideology.

Jeremiah’s words still stand like rock; from a timid youth he became ‘a pillar of iron, a wall of brass’. (Jer 1.18) The names of his once powerful opponents have disappeared into dust. 

Jesus too brought down anger and hatred upon himself for reaching out in compassion and embracing outsiders and aliens. (Lk 4.25-26) Yet his words are carved into history.

What gave Jeremiah and Jesus such power in the face of such opposition – surely belief in the power of love. Popularist fearmongers and social radicals may burn brightly by their media and political astuteness, but they fade and their places are taken by others.

On the other hand loving people who have a deep sense of their own worth (1Cor13.5), who are forgiving and calm (13.6), endure through whatever comes along for they are deeply rooted in the truth. (13.7) They know they are upheld by the unfading truth of the Word of God and the inspiring witness of countless men and women of faith who have gone before them. As we start a new year let’s be deeply consoled and sustained by these words of scripture knowing that they will prevail no matter what this daunting year may hold for us.

Source: 4th Sunday of year C

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