Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Building things today, in the first reading and the psalm anyway. And the recessional hymn.
The first reading starts right at the beginning of Jeremiah, with the Lord this really all-powerful force and poor Jeremiah just not ready for it.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

How scary is that? It’s not said, but it sure is understood, when something exists before you do, then it’s going to exist long after you too. How do you relate to something or someone like that?

Not that Jeremiah is especially unique in this, being destined for something from the very womb. Oh, and not just Christ himself, either. There’s Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1 – The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name), St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:15 – He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb), and St. Paul (Galatians 1:15 – God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace).

But Jeremiah tries complaining anyway: “Ah, Lord God!” I said, “I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

But God’s not having any of that. And he tells Jeremiah that he’s making of him a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass. Good, solid stuff.

And the psalm, from Psalm 71, ask the Lord: Be my rock and refuge, my secure stronghold; for you are my rock and fortress.

More solid stuff.

Even better, the psalm also says: On you I depend since birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.

Maybe there’s a connection, between the womb and the rock solid fortress? Or maybe I’m just thinking of this connection, because of the anniversary last week of Roe v. Wade, and the March for Life, which for yet another year I did not attend.

As always, I read more about Roe, this time William Saletan’s article (a review of Linda Greenhouse’s book on Justice Blackmun) in Legal Affairs from 2005. Interesting to note in these fractured times that whatever one thinks of Roe, it was decided by a seven to two majority. So different even twenty years later, where Casey squeaked by with a bare plurality of three. That makes all the five-to-fours that we’re so used to nowadays seem positively decisive.

The opening hymn today is Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, based on everybody’s favorite tune Hyfrydol. I’m saddened to learn that it’s apparently pronounced hu-vru-dul, according to Wikipedia. And all this time I’ve been saying hiff-ruh-doll. Yikes.

Either way, it’s Welsh for good cheer. Like a toast, I guess.

The recessional hymn, Christ’s Church Shall Glory in His Power, includes the line He is our rock, our mighty tow’r. The tune is Ein’ feste Burg, German for “a mighty fortress.”