In today’s first reading from Jeremiah 14: 17-22, the prophet says to God: “Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.” The incurable wound is sin that entered the world with Adam and Eve’s disobedience and mistrust of God, their vying to be like God. We all experience the indomitable ego that wants to be like god, that wants to be “king of the mountain,” that wants to remain on its “high horse,” no matter what. People throughout the world, in every culture and in every walk of life, vie for first place, for being or staying on one’s “high horse” or being “king of the mountain.” We see it in Assyria, in the fight between Palestine and Israel, in the struggles in Africa during apartheid, in the civil wars fought on every continent, in the holocaust; in the struggle between black, white, Native Americans and the dominant culture, in politicians degrading one another, in the fight of the rich to remain wealthy at the expense of the poor and on and on throughout all of history to the present day. We see it in our families between spouses and between parents and children. We see it in the struggle for male or female dominancy. We see it in the crimes against women and children. We see it in the drug lords and in the violence in our streets.
As I brought these issues to the Lord in prayer this morning, I was reminded of what Jesus said to His apostles in Mt. 20: 24: “You know that among the gentiles the rulers lord it over them, and great men [and women] make their authority felt. Among you this is not to happen.” The Lord also reminded me that Jesus Himself did not cling to equality with God but humbled Himself and took the position of a slave and was obedient [to His Father] even to the point of death on the cross. Jesus accepted this poverty so that we could be rich in virtue. What we see modeled in the world of today is anything but this kind of humility, this richness in virtue.
The choice is mine: to fight to stay on “my high horse,” to remain “king of the mountain,” or to follow the humble Lord, who was obedient to the Spirit of His Father guiding Him throughout His life here on earth! Which spirit am I following: the spirit of the world or the Spirit of God?