The reading from Jeremiah today addresses the people of Israel at a time of great societal upheaval. Their nation is falling apart and will soon be destroyed. Yet, this passage is a proclamation that even in the midst of this calamity, Israel’s God is the God of all peoples and all history. The social disruption is a sign that Israel must take her sin and idolatry seriously. Unfaithfulness to God’s righteousness has dire consequences. But neither Israel’s smugness in assuming God’s protection nor her enemies’ wish to, “write you off as a lost cause,” are correct. Neither Israel’s disaster nor the triumph of her enemies is permanent, since the God of justice, mercy, and redemption is at work.
As the selection from John reminds us though, our human tendency is to fail to see the Divine hand in the world. In looking for ultimate meaning in the shallow and vain things to which our human nature draws us, we fail to see the Divine outpouring of love, grace, and peace that forms God’s Kingdom.