I have had a routine as long as I have had to maintain an household. About every two to three weeks I clean out the insides and throw away everything that is rotten or spoiled. Now some of you may wonder at this curiosity that anyone could let food spoil. I have a child who refuses to eat left over (except my lasagna). An ex-husband who insisted on bringing home any food (and I mean any food) that was left on plates at a restaurant proclaiming he would eat it another day. And then would promptly forget and it would remain for weeks! Forgotten fruit. Half eaten sandwiches. And that last little bit in the pan, not enough for a meal, left over from dinner. It was also a good time to check expiration dates and science projects. From there I would go and do my grocery shopping and the process would repeat itself over and over again.
Now you may be wondering why I am sharing this disgusting bit of my personal history with you. I am sure I am not alone in having curiosities growing in refrigerators. I share it because this is the image I got this morning as I heard the word of God and the first reading at Mass. Jeremiah 13:1-11. The quote that really struck me from that reading was: “from the place where I had hid it. But it was rotted, good for nothing!” Now in Jeremiah’s case it was a piece of clothing but my mind ran to my refrigerator and the last time I cleaned it. The remainder of the reading has God reminding Israel how close they have been to His own heart and yet they have turned away from the teachings, hiding God’s Word away, forgotten.
I love the book of Jeremiah because there are some wonderfully creative images used to explain God’s love and action in the world and in our lives. Jeremiah must have been a very visual person. He is the one who has the image of God as the potter and we as the clay among a number of others. Jeremiah talks of our relationship with God as being very intimate and personal — a lesson we all could use some constant reminding of. If not then we become like the Israelites of old…. allowing the truth of God’s Word to rot in the dark corners of our lives like the fruit in our refrigerators.
Our faith is not just a Sunday faith; or a faith that is pulled out when its convenient. We, as Catholics, are called to be in God’s Word DAILY! It is not enough, if what we seek is to reform our lives sufficiently to be rewarded with eternal life, to “be exposed to scripture” just on Sunday. Question? What was the Gospel reading at Mass on Sunday? The First reading? It is not uncommon for the most discipline of persons to get distracted by a thought or happening around us and not remember what was just said. And this is the thought, teaching, challenge that is suppose to direct our week? And we didn’t even get it? Taking the bulletin home; rereading the scripture: checking on line for scripture sources; buying and reading a commentary to go with the readings — these are just a few ideas that one could do to really allow the word of God to plant itself in the healthy souls of our lives. (Remember last Sunday — the sower and the seed was the Gospel.)
The scripture, the Bible is meant to be a living guide for our lives. It is meant to comfort us in our afflictions and to afflict us when we are too comfortable. We need to be in our Bibles, reading, praying, studying the Word of God. I heard once that the letters B.I.B.L.E. mean: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Let God’s Word be living and bear fruit in our lives by our ongoing involvement in it. Not something that rots in the dark corners of our lives. I remain,
Your Servant in Christ,