“You shall die.” So, the people and the priests and prophets reacted to Jeremiah speaking the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. He said that Jerusalem and its temple would soon be “desolate and without inhabitant.” He was surrounded by an angry mob who demanded a retraction. The temple was God’s house. God would never destroy his own house. But Jeremiah persisted saying the people needed to mend “your ways, deeds and obey the Lord’s voice.” They could kill him, but he could do nothing else than tell the word the Lord had given him. (Jeremiah 26:8-15)
In the Gospel lesson some Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod wanted to kill him. But Jesus could do nothing other than the task his Father had given him. He lamented the destruction of the temple once again. But if he was going die, it had to be in Jerusalem. (Luke 13:31-35)
Those texts impress on me the awesome task that God gives to fallible people to speak his word. Sometimes it would be easier to tell people want they want to hear and not what they need to hear. Believe me that is an awesome burden. More than once I dreaded saying what needed to be said. Because we have no choice but to speak it. What is important is not our skin and well-being or popularity, but as St. Paul says in our epistle lesson, “Those who are called to faith in Christ in baptism have a “citizenship in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body…”
Jesus murder on the cross won for us that prospect of a whole new beginning. We who preach can do no other than make the word of the Lord the center of our message.