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Friday, March 11, 2016

Jeremiah, Chapter 1, verse 8
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the LORD.

Jeremiah in this chapter received the call of God and he was afraid. Jeremiah as a young man felt inadequate to do the call of God. Moses on the other hand was a much older man but like Jeremiah when he received the call of God he felt inadequate. When Peter received the call from our Lord Jesus he felt insignificant and cried out, “Leave me Lord. I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8b). The lesson here is that when we are called it will be scary. Christ asks us to not be afraid. The perfect example of what our attitude to the call should be was the attitude of Mary at the annunciation when God called her to be the mother of Christ. Mary’s fiat was "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1: 38).

An interesting thing in this verse, is the use of the word presence. Worldly people are masters of presence or the projection of power. When called do not fear powerful people for is not God greater than the world? Give it to God, let him take control for our Lord will empower us and deliver us to accomplish his word just like he did Jeremiah and all the Saints. We for our part must be, ready for change, for God will prepare us for the challenges of our calling. We must be open to the promptings of our Lord and be willing to give up any of our own façades of presence or false images of power we may have developed over time. 

We may have, at times, found ourselves projecting a presence, which is actually just an overreaction to our fears and self-doubts. Let us follow the advice of Father J. Brian Bransfield and realize:  To find the depths of our identity we must pass through our fears.[1]

Sacred Images[2]

The protestant reformer John Calvin was forceful opponent of devotional images and favored bare church walls and bare crosses. He held images—even of Christ—led to idolatry.

Catholics use statues, paintings, and other artistic devices to recall the person or thing depicted. Just as it helps to remember one’s mother by looking at her photograph, so it helps to recall the example of the saints by looking at pictures of them. Catholics also use statues as teaching tools. In the early Church they were especially useful for the instruction of the illiterate. Many Protestants have pictures of Jesus and other Bible pictures in Sunday school for teaching children. Catholics also use statues to commemorate certain people and events, much as Protestant churches have three-dimensional nativity scenes at Christmas. If one measured Protestants by the same rule, then by using these "graven" images, they would be practicing the "idolatry" of which they accuse Catholics. But there’s no idolatry going on in these situations. God forbids the worship of images as gods, but he doesn’t ban the making of images. If he had, religious movies, videos, photographs, paintings, and all similar things would be banned. But, as the case of the bronze serpent shows, God does not even forbid the ritual use of religious images. It is when people begin to adore a statue as a god that the Lord becomes angry. Thus when people did start to worship the bronze serpent as a snake-god (whom they named "Nehushtan"), the righteous king Hezekiah had it destroyed (2 Kgs. 18:4).[3]

One interesting thing to consider is one of the most sacred images that we have in the Americas is the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which was gifted to the church on St. Juan Diego’s apron. The image of our lady came to us about the same time that nine million protestants left the church and almost simultaneously that nine million loss of saints was filled by nine million Aztecs and other native Americans.

[1] J. Brian Bransfield, Living the Beatitudes-A Journey of Life in Christ.
[2] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 25. Sacred Images.