Thursday – Old and New
The scribe who presents the Kingdom of Heaven brings forth things both old and new. He offers the old as he relates salvation history with its signs and wonders, its covenants and patriarchs, its blessings and curses. This is the heritage of the people of God, and it has much to teach about how God creates and guides His family. It also provides a multitude of prayers and moral teachings to enrich the lives of all who hear.
But the scribe doesn't just bring forth the old; he also presents the new. The new, of course, is the Gospel message: God became Man and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ our Lord died for us to ransom us from our sins and open the door to Heaven. He rose again on the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He established a new covenant family, the Catholic Church, and He dwells within our souls. He even gives Himself to us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist. We can, and must, have an immensely intimate relationship with the God of the Universe, Who has stooped down to hold us close.
Old and new. Both reveal God's great love for us.
Friday – Another Chance
Jeremiah had an important message for the people of Israel. God was going to give them yet another chance. Even considering all their idolatry and greed and other sins, He wasn't ready to give up on them yet. So He gave them a warning that was meant to lead to repentance. If they did not obey God and turn away from their sins, He would treat them like the house of Shiloh in the Northern Kingdom, which had been destroyed because it abandoned God. If, on the other hand, they chose to obey God, to follow His commands, and to worship Him alone, they would be safe.
The people, however, heard only the part about being destroyed like Shiloh, and they couldn't stomach that one bit. They turned on Jeremiah and threatened to kill him. They couldn't see past God's warning to embrace His invitation to repentance and conversion. They couldn't understand that God wanted their love.
God loves giving His people chances. He wants everyone to come to Him and accept the salvation He offers. Will we do so? Or will we be like the Israelites and turn our backs to follow our own paths?
Saturday – Mistaken Identity
Herod was nervous, very, very nervous. He had already put John the Baptist to death, but now he feared that he was back. There was a man named Jesus who had been working some pretty mighty deeds, and Herod was sure that such power could only come from John the Baptist.
This case of mistaken identity shows us some important things. Herod, even though he was dead wrong, had captured seeds of truth. Jesus was working mighty deeds, deeds great and powerful enough to turn heads, deeds that were outside the realm of nature. Something amazing was going on. Also, Herod's idea that John the Baptist had come back from the dead offers a glimpse of a reality to come. Jesus would indeed come back from the dead. He would rise again, for death could not hold God in its chains. And in doing so, He would free all those who accept His salvation from death and bring them into eternal life.
Herod may have gotten it wrong, but God would get it right.