25 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised;
26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Perhaps this will make more sense to us if we substitute the word “baptized” for the word “circumcised.” Does Baptism make a Christian any more than circumcision made a Jew if the person does not follow the ways of the Lord? Just as the Israelites were called to follow the Law of Moses, we are called to follow Jesus. If we do not, then we are baptized only in water, but not in the Spirit which determines the actions of the heart. Jeremiah continued to remind the people of their lack of fidelity. They were worshipping idols giving in to lying and deceit, creating violence within the community, and basically ignoring everything that they had promised to do. What about us? When we decided to become Christian, we knew that we were promising to follow Jesus.
I know I have said this before, but, what makes us different from our friends and neighbors who are not Christian? Would anyone know by our words or our behavior that we are followers of Christ? Are we kinder, more forgiving, less inclined to anger or foul language? Are we true witnesses of Jesus working for justice for the poor and the vulnerable? What makes us different? If we can’t think of anything, then maybe we have to see what changes we need to make.
I can remember speaking to a group of people who were complaining that they didn’t see too many young people in church. I asked them, “Why would the young want to go to church when all they heard from the “adults” who were there was complaints about how they dressed, or their tattoos, or their pierced eyebrows, etc.?” They couldn’t answer me. And they would consider themselves to be good “Christians!” I would disagree. They may have gone to church, but they weren’t acting in a Christ-like manner. We are called to be Christ in the world, so that everyone can see the goodness of God.
Let’s meditate on this passage from Jeremiah and see if it applies to us.
Loving and forgiving God, you continued to send the prophets to remind your people of the need for them to change. We, too, need reminders to examine our lives and make those changes we need to make to follow you more closely. Amen.