A prophet’s tears

I wrote the other day about the story of Baruch, assistant to the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah. The lesson was that a prophet cannot expect life to be a picnic!

Here is another reflection on the prophetic calling: from the book of Lamentations.

Traditionally, many have thought that the book comes from the ministry of Jeremiah, however the evidence is not conclusive and the fact is that the book does not name its own speaker. It’s certainly true that there are some parallels with Jeremiah who was known for his tears (see Jeremiah 13:17).

The setting of the book is Jerusalem, after the Babylonians have destroyed it. It’s streets are empty and the city weeps.

As does the book’s author. Here is what he says in chapter 3:

This is what makes a prophet different from a Pharisee. Denouncing and protesting the ills of society might take a bit of courage, depending on the issue and the context, but they do not necessarily require compassion. To be like Jesus means learning to weep.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

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