Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds. Jeremiah 17: 5-10
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so, the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
The miracle of water
I will have to admit, there was a time when I would read scripture morning, noon, and night. The supposedly better and sought-after life of busyness has set in so reading scripture or daily Mass attendance has been less frequent for me. When I do partake, Jesus’ words console me or at times offer rebuke. Even when I am going through these “dry spells,” I am always somehow drawn unexpectedly, to read the scripture of the day where the psalm above is present. Psalm 1 is one of my favorite psalms and it corresponds with the First Reading of today from Jeremiah. It was what I needed to hear in this COVID-19-ridden world today.
I decide to read scripture, especially during the special Church seasons and the Sunday liturgy contains scripture readings. When I do, and when I see this particular scripture, it always surprises me, just like when I walk out a door and suddenly am taken by surprise with the rising of a beautiful, full moon on a crisp, clear evening. The full moon and this scripture always have the same affect on me.
As a people and a country we are being challenged right now but when I go out in public, it still feels pretty much the same, except for the hauntingly empty store shelves where the toilet paper once occupied space. Now, as a Catholic in the northwest, we are being challenged, due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, by not being able to celebrate Mass in which we partake in the Eucharistic meal, unheard of in my lifetime. We must not be downtrodden or devoid of joy because of being shaken out of our way-of-life routine for the Lord is still with us. He is with us in scripture and in prayer. He is with us in the people we meet and care for or socialize with. He is with us in our thoughts and in our memories.
As Americans, I think we like to be in control and when we can’t control a situation we look for someone to blame. I know that I have done that. I am sure you have heard, when one finger is pointing outward, there are three pointing back at you.
Life will definitely change whether it be for the short term or longer. We can take this time, during imposed self-isolation and social distancing, especially during Lent, to determine what is most important in our lives. This will not be an easy task because most of us are so busy we do not have time to confront the mountain of ourselves. Believe me, there are many peaks and valleys when we pull away from “busyness” and sit in quiet to think. Not meditate, but to think or perhaps pray or even “dialogue” with God. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do.
I had a chance today, in this early spring light to clear the accumulated winter dust and cobwebs. I decided to clean the glass items with water and when I did, I was thinking about how easy it was to clean the glass with water. The dust washed off so easily and the glass was all clean and shiny. I thought about washing hands, clearing the germs from them and I was thankful for water! What would we do without water to clean the annoying, life-altering, virus germs. As Catholics, we must take this time to stretch out our roots to the running water so that our leaves never fade.