Homily by Father James Doran, OMV, Sunday, August 18, at Saint Francis Chapel, Boston
Why was the prophet Jeremiah thrown into a cistern, a well? It was because he told the truth as God revealed it to him. King Zedekiah of Judah did not want to convert and submit so he rejected Jeremiah's warning that Judah would be overrun by the Babylonians. The king had Jeremiah thrown into the empty cistern and Jeremiah sunk into the mud. Jeremiah prays and is rescued from the well. Our response is in Psalm 40. "I have waited."
His prophecy came true. The Babylonians breached the city walls. The king Zedekiah and his soldiers fled. They were captured. Zedekiah's sons were brought into his presence and slain. Zedekiah's eyes were put out and he was taken to Babylon in chains. Meanwhile, the prophet Jeremiah was spared and released.
Jeremiah's story is seen as a prefigurement of Jesus's Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Jesus was handed over by Pilate to the Jews, descended into Hell, and was raised from the dead. King Zedekiah was defeated in spite of all his power and political skill. Jeremiah preached the word of God without diluting it in any way. Even though he knew it was unpopular and could get him killed, he stayed faithful. In the end, Jeremiah was saved and Zedekiah was not.
"I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" Fire is often used to describe God's love for men. The images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus show a Heart wounded and bleeding, but in flames for love of sinners. "I must be baptized, and how great is My anguish until it is accomplished!" The word "baptism" comes from a Greek word that means to be dipped or submerged. Jesus, at this point, is not talking about John the Baptist's baptism. Jesus has already been baptized by John in the river Jordan. He is talking about being submerged into His Passion and Death. He could not wait to save humanity through that ordeal. Perhaps He could not wait to get it over with.
"Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Saint Cyril comments on this passage: "What are You saying, Lord? Didn't You say, `peace I leave you, My peace I give you?'
However, the peace of Christ is not as the world considers peace. The world offers a false peace to those who cooperate with evil."
Don't say anything about an unjust situation and you will be taken care of. Just go along with corruption and immorality and everything will be all right. They are murdering babies in hospitals and clinics but don't say anything. Keep the peace. Women and children are being exploited in the sex trade, human trafficking. The abortion industry is the silent killer that devours women and children, and silence facilitates it, enabling it to go on and on.
Blessed are these who stand up, who take to the streets; those who pray and protest and choose not to empower pro-abortion candidates. Those who empower them share in their crimes.
"Do you think I have to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. A man's foes will be those of his own household…" [Matthew 10:36]
This past Friday two ladies were praying outside Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Avenue when a couple came out and walked straight over to them. "We are not going to have the abortion," said the man. When one lady asked what prompted the change of heart, he said "I just knew what we were doing was wrong."
Yesterday a couple stopped to listen to a pro life counselor for a moment on their way into the clinic. They came back out after about a half an hour and said they'd changed their minds. One of the people exchanged phone numbers with the couple and promised to get them a crib.
That is the 46th baby saved between Haverhill, Brookline, and Boston in 2013.
My brothers and sisters, "Since we are surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses" for life, "let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us." Let us shake off the apathy and indifference about saving lives. "Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of Faith. Consider how He endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood."
You have not even been cast into a cistern!