Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Scripture Readings

A common occurrence in my home is for Avila (who turns two today) to come up to us at bed time and say, "La La La Song!" The La La La Song is one of many songs that have come from Bess's side of the family. For the longest time I did not know its origin but I knew the kids loved it. As Bess sits in the middle of the room clapping and singing they run around her as fast as possible, recreating a scene of her own bedtime rituals. I always thought my creative Father-in-law conjured up this joyful song about virgins and young men dancing. Then I read the responsorial today.

I discovered that my father-in-law's song is a fun rendition of the last stanza from Jeremiah, "Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows." I found that for several years I have been singing the echoes of Jeremiah. I love that my children have joyful celebrated this promise of the Lords comfort and concern.

This promise of rejoicing seems so fitting when read alongside Ezekiel's promise to deliver the people from idolatry. We often equate idolatry with the belief that something else is God, and that is true. But today I was reminded that we also create idols when we believe that something or someone other than God will provide us true and lasting comfort and joy. Certainly, people and things can comfort us and we can experience happiness and pleasure at those times. However, when we hold them out as the ultimate source of our joy, we make them idols.

As a matter of fact, we can not place an unrealistic expectation on these pleasant things (a drink, a pay raise, a vacation, a spouse) but we can make an idol of pleasure and happiness itself. Jesus warns us against this when he echoes Jeremiah with the words, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Add that to our awareness as disciples that Jesus was not always comfortable. For instance, in today's gospel he seeks isolation because people are plotting his death. Thus, by his teaching and example we are warned against making comfort an idol. Joy will come, but those that will dance and rejoice, won't have made comfort an idol.

If we are always chasing the idol of comfort (or some other pleasure) will we have time to dance with those who have truly experienced the Lord's joy? I pray that the Lord helps me fight my tendency to make comfort an idol, so that I can dance the La La La Song with my brothers and sisters, as well as my kids.

- Spencer Hargadon