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March 20: Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading Jeremiah 18:18-20
Gospel Matthew 20:17-28

Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.

Today’s First Reading is taken from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, whose prophecy echoes throughout the season of Lent. One of the hallmarks of the Book of Jeremiah is his account of how he must suffer in order to be a faithful prophet. As such, this hallmark reveals two points for the attention of Christians, though the second grows out of the first.

First, Jeremiah’s suffering as a prophet foreshadows the vocation of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not only a prophet, of course, but during His three years of public ministry, His prophetic preaching and prophetic miracles were a prime motive for those who sought His death. So we ought to listen again to the First Reading and imagine it as describing the suffering of Jesus.

Second, each Christian is called by God to live fully in Christ. This means that each Christian is called by virtue of his or her baptism to share in the three roles that Jesus exercised during His earthly life: the roles of priest, prophet and king. Each Christian, in his or her own way, is meant to speak and act prophetically. In this, we ought to keep in mind that a biblical prophet is not someone who predicts the future, but someone who reminds others—by word and example—of the demands of God’s Word.