Friday, August 12, 2022


Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
/ Categories: Homilies

A Young Prophet

Homily for Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The Book of Jeremiah combines history, biography, and prophecy. It portrays a nation in crisis and introduces the reader to an extraordinary person whom the Lord called to prophesy under the trying circumstances of the final days of the kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah was at the very most 23 years old, possibly much younger, when the Lord called him to his vocation as a prophet of Israel. At the beginning of his days as a prophet, Josiah was king, a man faithful to the covenant relationship with God. However, this King was killed in battle and followed by rulers who worshiped false gods and idols.

The introduction to the book of the Prophet Jeremiah which we read today is paired with the very beginning of a familiar parable about the Word of God. Thus, our readings today focus our attention on the importance of God’s Word in our lives as well as in the life of Jeremiah and the first disciples of Jesus. When the Word of God comes to Jeremiah, he immediately protests that he is far too young to take up this vocation. The responsorial psalm for today may have been chosen because of its author’s insistence that God has been part of his life from his youth.

To be sure, Jeremiah’s youth was an obstacle for many of the people who heard him preach the Word of the Lord. At the same time, we realize that God oftentimes chooses people who would not be the obvious choice. Perhaps this is because God wants us to focus not on the prophet but on the message that the prophet delivers. The classical definition of a prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures is a person who carries God’s Word with him wherever he goes. Throughout his life, Jeremiah lived up to this expectation.

Many of us chose life as a consecrated religious as very young people. Jeremiah stands as an example of someone who lived up to God’s expectations. May the same thing be said of us!

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