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Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 18:1-6
Psalm 146:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB
Matthew 13:47-53
In the human journey, we experience great joy and devastating darkness,
empowering courage and paralyzing fear, uplifting success and dejecting
failure, but the hand of God, like the potter with her clay or the fisherman
casting his nets, cherishes each one of us in various states of grace.
Shortly before we were married 15
years ago, I met a potter named
Bob on the volcanic island of
Ometepe in the middle of Lake
Nicaragua. Bob was from Maine,
and he decided in his 50s to join
the Peace Corps to introduce the
potter˅s wheel to potters who had
spent a lifetime making pots, pitch-
ers, candlesticks and vases slowly
and lovingly by hand. The bowl
pictured here with the tree of life was made by Bob, a wedding gift from a
mutual friend, and I have both this piece with the perfect base from a pot-
ter˅s wheel and other pieces made by hand in the Nicaraguan tradition, and
all are perfectly useful and beautiful.
In both the first reading and the gospel, God breathes messages of the
necessity of good and evil in every facet of life. This message is revealed
to Jeremiah through the work of the potter: ˈWhenever the object of clay
which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried againˎˉ Like-
wise, in the gospel of Matthew, in the middle of a string of parables, Jesus