24th March: Jeremiah 7.23-28; Psalm 94; Luke 11.14-23
The Old Testament organises the history of Israel around two central axes: the liberation of God’s chosen people from Egyptian slavery, and the later liberation of this people from Babylonian exile and captivity. God’s liberating work is fundamentally defined as call, or vocation. In creation, God calls all things to come into existence (in metaphorical terms, calls them out of darkness into light). In redemption, God calls his people out of slavery into freedom. And in the ongoing work of sanctification, God calls his people out of death into life.
These three calls are one. Creation and redemption are not simply acts completed in the past; they are on-going and continually necessary. Over and over human beings are shown preferring inertia to the demands of existence, preferring slavery to the demands of freedom [cf Exodus 17.1-7], preferring the pseudo-life of instinct to life worthy of the name.
Persistently God speaks in prophetic words we would rather not hear. Persistently he endeavours to govern us, to keep us in paths of peace and fulfilment. But only by his complete identification with us, his Incarnation in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, constantly renewed for us at the altar as he takes the bread we offer and makes of it the food of eternal life, does he make us, not just in virtue but in fact, his people, alive and free in Him forever.