Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
GREAT LENT: DAY 11
“I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful”, says the Lord; “I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you have rebelled against the Lord your God, and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and have not obeyed my voice,” says the Lord. “Return, faithless children, for I am a master to you,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 3:12-14)
The season of Great Lent is a journey back to God, where through meditation and prayer we reflect on how we have distanced ourselves from God, and hence we no longer hear His voice. Having gone astray in our sinful ways, we find ourselves confused and lost as if we were in a corn maze with no way out.
Our distancing from God takes place in stages, without us noticing it at first. In the way our physical bodies can become ill and weak over time, similarly, our souls experience weakness in stages. The signs of physical weakness are visible to us. At first, we lose our appetite, thereafter we experience weakness in our bodies, then we may have a fever and a lack of desire to do anything. In this state of physical weakness, we lay down lacking the strength to do anything.
Our spiritual lives are also the same. When our spiritual health begins to decay, we lose our appetite for the Holy Scriptures and become indifferent towards spiritual nourishment. We find it difficult to pray, growing weak spiritually, and thereby, find ourselves separated from God.
In today’s passage, “faithless children” is an expression that applies to all those who have in the past experiences the presence of God, but because of sin, they have distanced themselves from God. In this passage, the prophet Jeremiah presents God’s fatherly deep and great love for His disobedient children. God does not desire for His children to persist in their sinful ways, being distant from Him. With steadfast love, He calls each one of us to return to Him. He promises to forgive all our wrongdoings through His boundless mercies and grant us spiritual healing. He invites us, saying “Return, O faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness.” (Jeremiah 3:22).
Therefore, come and let us acknowledge and confess our wrongdoings. Let us return to our merciful God, who promises not to remember our evil deeds. Only then we will hear His voice again and enjoy His presence. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)