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They walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. ~ Jeremiah 7:24b

The Bible provides a fascinating perspective on the moral significance of memory. Time and again, God reminds the people of Israel of their deliverance from Egyptian enslavement, underscoring the ethical significance of this experience. The memory of liberation is meant to inspire Israel to act justly, drawing from their experience and lessons of their past suffering and redemption.

However, in today’s passage from Jeremiah, God rebukes the people for fixating on their past and neglecting the potential of the future. They have become ensnared in the spiritual pitfall of nostalgia, as if they’ve forgotten to “remember the future,” as my spiritual director aptly puts it. Remembering the future recognizes that each new day brings fresh opportunities and that life’s most significant moments are not confined to the past. It is a call to embrace the notion that new possibilities are ever-present, urging us to craft innovative paths for the days ahead. In essence, this perspective assigns moral weight to the future, affirming that God’s vision of freedom and abundance awaits realization in the days ahead. In this way, the future carries as much moral responsibility as our past, urging us to actively shape it in alignment with a greater purpose.

Today’s readings

How can we both cherish the lessons of our past experiences while remembering to build a more just and hopeful future?

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