First Reading:  Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19


The Call


4 Now the word of YHWH came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you. Before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”


17 “You therefore put your belt on your waist, arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Don’t be dismayed at them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 For, behold, I have made you this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you; but they will not prevail against you; for I am with you,” says YHWH, “to deliver you.”


World English Bible


Jeremiah preached before and during the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. According to tradition, he was exiled to Egypt and died as a martyr.


This passage describes the call of Jeremiah. Like many of the other prophets, Jeremiah is called by God in four steps: 1) commission of the prophet by God, 2) objection of the prophet, 3) God's reassurance to the prophet, and 4) God's sign to the prophet. Verses 4-5 describe the first step of the process, the commission of Jeremiah. Verses 17-19 refer to God's reassurance and sign (steps 3 & 4) that Jeremiah was given in a vision.


Jeremiah's call speaks to our call as Christians. We are all called by God from the moment of our creation in the womb for one purpose: life with God. Witness through our words and actions is our "yes" to God's call. While we might not be called to be an international sign like Jeremiah, we are called to make a difference in our world. [4-5]


Witness does require courage (i.e., girding one's loins) and honesty. We might shrink away from the demands of witness, like Jeremiah was tempted to do. But as he promised Jeremiah, God will not leave us devastated. Indeed, God will strengthen us for the fight, as he did Jeremiah, as long as we depend on him, for He is our salvation. [17-19]


How has God's call challenged you to reach out to others? Has that outreach ever been rejected? What happened?