The people to whom Jeremiah prophesied were treacherously planning to kill him (Jer 11:19). Jeremiah risked his neck to serve God, and he wanted God to back him up by taking vengeance on these enemies. In addition, Jeremiah wanted to see it personally.
We Christians have enemies also. Unlike Jeremiah, we do get to witness the vengeance God takes on them. We see:
the pride of the powerful crushed as they gaze upon Jesus crucified (see Is 52:15),
sinners emerging from the confessional with tears of repentance and gratitude as Jesus in His vengeance robs Satan of still more of his former captives (Col 2:15).
God commands in His word: "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves; leave that to [Me]...'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay' " (Rm 12:19). Yet we can have a role. God's word tells us: "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; by doing this you will heap burning coals upon his head" (Rm 12:20).
God is perfectly just (1 Cor 1:30; Is 30:18). He is able to punish the wicked until they are forced to choose for Him or against Him (2 Pt 2:9). He can avenge by acting in justice or avenge through mercy. Let's do our part as God's agents so His enemies and ours receive the right kind of vengeance from God (Rm 12:20).
Prayer: Father, may the burning coals of kindness I pour on my enemies melt their hearts and lead them to You.
Promise: "No man ever spoke like that before." —Jn 7:46
Praise: In prayer, Jan made a distinct decision to be kind to a cantankerous neighbor and saw that woman grow in love in response to her kindness.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2009 through March 31, 2009. †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008.
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