enticement and seduction

This morning I read and mused over this Sunday’s readings. I’ve taken to waking up with a cup of coffee and the day’s readings. The combo works for me. Sometimes, there’s something in the scripture that jumps out at me and wakes me up. This morning there were several.

The first reading is from Jeremiah, the “You duped me passage.” This morning I read it in 3 translations.

My New Jeruselem Bible says “You have seduced me, Yahweh, and I have let myself be seduced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger. ... I would say to myself ‘I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more,’ but then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones.”

My New Revised Standard Version says “O Lord, you have enticed me and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. ... If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones.”

And the New American Bible says “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me and you triumphed ... I say to myself, ‘I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones.”

This morning as I read these 3 translations and drank my coffee, I woke up to a dawning realization that I have been enticed and seduced on this journey with God. But I let it happen! At times I might tell myself that I’ll stop thinking all those God thoughts, but it comes back like a fire burning in my heart. I get that. My story is not necessarily the call of a prophet, but we all have our own call.

In the second reading Paul tells us (or he tells the Romans but we get to listen in) not to conform ourselves to our age but to discern what is the will of God, what is good, pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12). I think that anyone who has discerned a call to religious life has struggled with this one. It seems such a countercultural thing, and is definitely not conforming ourselves to the age. But discerning the will of God can lead to what is good, pleasing and perfect. It’s tricky business though.

Jesus tells Peter, and us by extension, “Get behind me Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Wow! Harsh, but rings true. When we conform to our will, when we conform to our age, when we try to ignore God’s fire burning in our heart, we are thinking as human beings do. Jesus then has a gem of an idea that I’ve been wrapping my head around for over a year now: “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

The great paradox. By following God, by discerning God’s will not OUR will, we find our life. Our path. What is pleasant, good and perhaps perfect. Seems crazy but true.

Let’s just say I was wide awake by this point. Today’s readings spoke to me in a special way. I have been enticed, and I have let myself be enticed. As today’s Psalm says ” O God, you are my God whom I seek; ... Thus will I bless you while I live; .. As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.”


Anonymous said...

Yes, I, too, was pleasantly surprised by today's readings. Admittedly, I was sitting half-dazed in church, not really feeling like being there this morning (not jiving so well with my new parish), when that lined, "you duped me, Lord," lept out at me. I quickly grabbed the missalette (sp?) in front of me and, sure enough, there it was, "you duped me." Huh. Then I realized now I know where the title of Mark Mossa's blog comes from. Pretty cool.

And then in the second reading that line about discerning also popped right out at me, because that's what I'm doing, day in, day out. Not a word we hear often. Well, I suppose it's heard more often in Catholic circles, but still, a pretty unique word that always perks my ears.

So, I just wanted to say I agree, Susan, the readings really caught me today, woke me up, and went together really well. Some Sundays I'm left wondering how at least one of the readings (usually the second one) is supposed to tie in with the other two.

Richard said...

Whenever you're feeling burdened by life or especially by this religious vocation thing, you can count on Jeremiah to put it in perspective. How many times have we followed some "call" only to find more stress, anxiety, and heartache than the peace and tranquility we expected. Jesus reminds us that following him is not easy and we will suffer, but those moments of peace and tranquility are worth it.

andrea said...

I did the same thing with Jeremiah that you did -- look it up in different translations. And I love the Jerusalem Bible version -- you seduced me. That's quite different from being duped. Maybe God does both, but the idea of being seduced by God is as good as it gets.

~m2~ said...

i had the pleasure of being the solo lector this weekend and loved the readings, as well.

i had to re-read them a couple of times before i presented them - does anyone else here lector? i always pray that even though i am presenting them that i be touched by them as well and that the Holy Spirit take control over what i say and how i inflect.

sometimes i step down and don't even remember "how i did." that's pretty cool, too.

Songbird said...

I was preaching from Exodus and didn't even look at Jeremiah last week. Thank you for opening those texts for me today.

Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Just wait my aspiring religious friend, the duping is only beginning! But, as you observed, it's not only that you are duped, but that you let God do it! That means religious life won't be what you expect, but it will be what God desires for you, and like Jeremiah, you won't be able to escape its pull!

I kinda like this reading, as you might have guessed.