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O Adonai - hope beyond adversity

Monday, December 18, 2006
Readings: Jeremiah 23:5-8; Psalm 71; Matthew 1:18-24

The prophet Jeremiah lived at a time when God’s chosen people faced the catastrophe of invasion and deportation to Babylon in the north. Jeremiah did not shrink from warning the people of the tragedy that was about to befall them. Yet at the same time he was able to hold out the hope that God would not neglect his people in their adversity. The Lord ‘will raise up a righteous shoot to David’ who will reign as a just and wise king so that the people may live securely in their land.

Later in the Book of Jeremiah the prophet will tell of God’s promise of a new covenant with his people, one that offers a deeper salvation than rescue from invading armies. For God will enter into a more intimate relationship with his people and will forgive their guilt and never more call to mind their sin (Jeremiah 31:34).

In the Gospel today we see these promises coming to fulfilment. A new king is to be born from the house of David who will save his people from their sins. Again this message of hope is made known in the midst of anxiety - this time Joseph's anxiety about Mary’s pregnancy. Today’s readings suggest that it is often easier to recognise God’s plan for our lives when things don’t appear to be going well. Certainly, it is in times of adversity that we most need to cry out in hope ‘O Adonai - O Mighty Lord… come to redeem us with outstretched arm’.

O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and who gave him the law on Sinai: come to redeem us with outstretched arm.


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