July 28, 2010

Christians Today Should Bring Forth the Precious Without the Vile

Today's first reading at Mass contains a poignant verse from Jeremiah 15:19 (NAB)

Thus the LORD answered me: If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them;

Jeremiah. Photo of a mosaic by Sacred Destinations on Flickr.

Jeremiah. Photo of a mosaic by Sacred Destinations on Flickr.

I was struck by the wording: Precious versus vile. Pure versus disgusting. Repentant sinner versus proud, audacious sinner.

Once again, the reality of being used as an instrument by the Lord hit me. God was telling Jeremiah to clean up his act -- to repent and stay pure -- so that the prophet could become effective in his ministry.

It's the same challenge given to Christians today. Turn to Him! Turn away from the vile!

Why? He can't use someone who hasn't turned away from sin, or someone who hasn't been restored into a loving relationship with his creator, or someone who decidedly chooses to abandon the Lord's presence because of sin.

He can only use someone who chooses the precious, the pure, the holy over the vile at any given moment. Someone who makes a conscious decision to eschew the vulgarity of the modern world in favor of the holiness of God's word and His sacraments.

Someone who chooses NOT to use curse words and instead chooses to praise God through good times and trials, just like Job.

Someone who chooses NOT to watch lewd television shows and instead chooses to read the word of God.

Someone who chooses to pray for those in need, to do acts of charity, to forebear insults, to accept persecution with joy, to fast from pride.

May we learn to revile the vulgarity around us and instead cling to the Lord for our sustenance and power so that, like Jeremiah, we may work to bring about God's kingdom.

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