First Reading: Jer. 18:1-6
Psalm: Ps. 146:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab
Gospel: Mt. 13:47-53
In today’s first reading, Yahweh sends Jeremiah to the potter’s shed, telling him that he will speak to him there. In the shed, Jeremiah watches as the potter works at the wheel with the clay in his hands. The potter knows what shape he wants the clay to assume. When it does not take the shape he desires, he reworks it to what he wants it to be. The potter here does not represent the Creator-God fashioning the world out of nothingness. It is rather the Creator-God sustaining the creature he has made and refashioning him into the sort of person he wants him to be. It isJudah, Yahweh’s own people that the Creator-God is refashioning.
Judahhad been chosen by Yahweh to be his own people. Together they had entered a covenant. Judahwould worship Yahweh alone and all the people of Judahwould respect one another and behave toward one another with justice and compassion. Yahweh would be obliged then to be Judah’s God and to accept the people of Judahas his own people. But the people did not keep the terms of the covenant. Yahweh would therefore refashion his people, as the potter refashions the clay object that is not pleasing to him. Yahweh, the Lord of History, would call in forces
beyondJudah’s control, the expansionist intentions of the Chaldean Empire, to be the agent forJudah’s refashioning. In the Babylonian Exile, the people would be transformed. Exile and adversity would stir up within them the longing to be Yahweh’s people, the desire to live by the stipulations of the covenant they had with God. This refashioned people would return toJerusalem and rebuildJudah.
Jeremiah unwittingly reminds us in this passage that God can also refashion us by events that are beyond our control. The more conscious we are of God working within us, the more accurately will we be able to read God’s intentions in the events of our life, the more fully will we be able to participate in our own refashioning.