“I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
Our first reading today can be considered to be the marker that divides the Bible into Old and New Testaments. When God speaks to us through the prophet Jeremiah about making a new covenant different from the one of old, God was implicitly telling us how we had failed him yet at the same time, God is saying he wants to give us a second chance.
… Sing… “Create in me a new heart Oh Lord, and renew my spirit within me, cast me not away from your presence O Lord and renew your Spirit within me.” x2
Our God is a God of the second chance. “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people…. I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The second chance God has given us is concretely expressed in our conscience. Deep within us, God has written his laws. We don’t need to study catechism to be good persons, at the very core of our being, we know what is good and what is wrong.
That God is a God of the second chance is again revealed in his willingness to entrust great responsibilities to us despite his full knowledge of our human weaknesses. Jesus knew how fragile Peter’s faith was and how rash he could be in thinking, yet made him the first pope. “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18).
No sooner had Jesus crowned Peter the head of the Apostles, we than heard him say to this same Peter, “Get behind me Satan…” (Matthew 16:23). This means that even God’s ministers are not above temptations and that ordination by itself does not make anyone immune to weakness. Yet, Jesus did not dethrone Peter. He continued to give him second chances. Later on, this same Pope Peter would deny Jesus three times but Jesus still would not give up on him.
Today, we celebrate the life of the priest, Saint John Vianney. In his story, we see once again that God is a God of second chances. We may be weak, but God never gives up on us. John Vianney struggled with his seminary studies, he lagged behind when others were far ahead but God gave him a second chance. Eventually, we remember him today not because of his academic degrees, but because of his simplicity, devotion, and love for souls. He is the patron of Parish Priests.
Let us pray: I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally. My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath. Amen
(Prayer of St. John Vianney)
Bible Study: Jer. 31:31-34, Ps. 51:12-15,18-19, Matthew 16:13-23).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu