There are times when bible passages use examples to make a point, to teach a lesson … when to repeat them can be awkward and sometimes embarrassing. The temptation is to avoid any reference to them. The passage today from the prophet Jeremiah presents us with this dilemma.
Jeremiah related to us an exchange he had with God. He said he was told to buy a new loincloth. (We could take that to mean a new undergarment.) He was told not to wash it but take it off and hide it. He hid it and sometime later returned to find it to be a rotten piece of cloth.
God used the story of the rotted loincloth to describe what His relationship had become with His people.
Some of us may be too old to remember a well-worn phrase our mother may have used when we left the house. “Make sure you have clean underwear on, you may get into an accident.” A mother using that phrase was always concerned with her child’s need to make a good impression, and under all circumstances. Closely related to the first saying was a second that said, cleanliness was next to Godliness.
When the sacrament of baptism is celebrated, we hear words spoken urging that our white garment be brought with us unstained on our journey to God.
The broken relationship Jeremiah described between God and the people occurs today in relationships with God, between friends, between husbands and wives, children and parents, and coworkers. Unfortunately, because we negate the potential to make things right. A seed was planted in us at our baptism, waiting for us to nurture it, protect it, release the power it contained.
We have that power. We were clothed in an outer garment at our baptism and told to keep it clean for all to see and in seeing, recognize the handiwork of God. That’s the garment we need to bring with us each day of our lives, mindful that it could be our last.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!