Word for Word 10/13/21

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

For your meditation: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews: 6:1-6;  Mark 10:46-52

The theme of these scripture readings is “Homecoming.” No, I’m not talking about a football game. It’s literally about coming home. We have read in the scriptures that God is someone who loves us and is someone who heals us. In these readings, God is portrayed as someone who calls us to come home.

In thinking of the subject of home, Robert Frost has been quoted,  “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” That’s a little too cynical for me. I would rather call home “anyplace where you know for sure, you belong.”

Look at the opposite. Have you ever experienced being in a place where you feel you didn’t belong? It’s not a comfortable feeling. You feel, well, out of place. You are a stranger, an alien. You don’t feel at home.

I know what it’s like. Once I made the mistake of thinking I was going into the men’s room at a restaurant and I was in the wrong one.

Jeremiah, in his first reading, is a song of comfort, words to console people who are in exile. These poor people are far, far away from home. They aren’t even in their own country, let alone their own town. And they aren’t on a vacation either. They were hauled off in chains to be slaves to people in another country. The dreaded land of the north, also described as the end of the earth.

But that is exactly the point of God’s salvation. God’s love for His people and God’s promise to affirm us in our commitment to home and family. Thus says the Lord, “I will bring them back for the lamb of the North.” Why? Why does God want to do this? Because he has a vested interest. The first few lines of this reading are the best, “For I am a father to Israel. Ephraim is my firstborn.” Israel and Ephraim are names that define us. They are synonyms to the word church. We are Israel and we are Ephraim. God is calling us home because God is our Father. Why is our home with God? We have one more definition of home. Home is where we and God are together. The church then is our home.

Home is a place of promise and it is a place of commitment. We make a promise to those people we share our home with. Husbands and wives make serious promises to each other. That is loyalty and when this happens, you know you belong.

We have many homes. The home of our family now, the home we grew up in (you never lose contact with that one, do you?), and also the church. This is our home. We gather together as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

There is also the brotherhood of all mankind. And finally, there is the home we are all awaiting for, our eternal home in heaven.

Today God assures us that we have a home because you see, home is anywhere we know, for sure, we belong.

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg