The Church gifts us this day with an ancient reading from Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, who gives voice to Jerusalem as she bewails and consoles her captive children during the exile. It is an interesting concept that a city gives voice to the people who live there. I ponder what New York City would have said to her people after September 11th. Or even what joyful message could be delivered to its residents from any small town in America on the Fourth of July? The personification of a town or city may be scientifically absurd, while still being poetically beautiful. For how deeply a town would desire to look after and tend to those who dwell there. I can’t help but picture a tenderness, care, and wisdom a town or city would exhume for its residents.
Jerusalem, Baruch says, do you realize how fortunate you are? Moreover, you need to be attentive to what God is about to do for you. This is very much the spirit of the Gospel. After sending out the seventy-two, they now come back, filled with excitement and enthusiasm. And Jesus asks them, do you realize how blessed you are? You’ve participated in things which societies’ elite couldn’t fathom. And I find great delight in sharing that with you. But your real joy isn’t what you can do because I asked you and gave you the authority. Your real joy excels because you have chosen to know and listen to me.
Fr. David Colhour, C.P. is the pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Louisville, Kentucky.