In today’s reading, Jer 11:18-20, Jeremiah wants revenge. He sees himself as a trusting lamb led to slaughter; although he knew he was in danger, he did not realize that his enemies were hatching plots against him. Jeremiah wants vengeance and he wants to be there to witness it in spades.
“Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”
In today’s homily, Monsignor, asks, “How does Jesus take vengeance on His enemies?” Monsignor answers, “He dies for them!”
Christians imitate Jesus. Scripture directs us in dealing with our enemies:
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
- But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
- If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink;
- For live coals you will heap on his head, and the LORD will vindicate you. Proverbs 25:22
We are all in the same boat, we are all sinners, enemies of God, so long as we persist in Sin. Jesus, for his part, dies for us. He has prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them!” He has fed them, “Take and eat!” He has satisfied their thirst, “Take and drink!”
Jesus appeals to the heart of men. We can turn away. We can experience, with Jesus, rejection. In all these circumstances Jesus says pray. That prayer is powerful, whether it is prayer of praise, worship, thanksgiving, adoration, or petition.
If we could only see it with Heaven’s eyes as John did as he records in the Book of Revelation:
“And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev 5:8
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.”Rev 7:14
What is this washing of their robes, if it is not the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If it were referring to Baptism, they would not be doing the washing, whereas in Reconciliation we have an active role.
Jesus wants what’s best for each of us. He wants enemies (sinners) to feel the hot coals of prayer heaped upon them. To see ourselves as Jesus sees us when we sin can be distressing. Such a moment, though wrenching, is a moment of grace. Jesus desires a response of the heart that sends the sick and sorrowful to show themselves to the priest for healing and forgiveness.
Our revenge is to be like our Christ. Our revenge is to die to ourselves with our Christ. Our revenge is to see the enemies of Christ come forth from the confessional with tears of joy and thanksgiving in all humility; no longer enemies but as brothers.
What will it take? Prayer. All are called, moment by moment, while we live, “Repent and believe the Good News!” Mk 1:15