March 11, 2010

Rega! What's a Hypertrophy?

If and when I get to heaven, Jeremiah is on the short list of people to whom I look forward to meeting. Here he is from the end of the first reading from Mass today:

This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech. (7:28)

Jeremiah would never make it in religious life. I can just hear the formation director pleading with him: "Brother Jeremiah, you have to learn that you can't impose your idea of righteousness on others."

In the first scripture course I ever took, when I was nineteen years old and didn't know applesauce from sin, professor Hanker gave us an examination on Jeremiah. The essay question asked, "Do you think that Jeremiah suffered from a hypertrophy of sympathy for God? Why or why not?" Since none of us knew what "hypertrophy" meant, it was a hard question to answer. I wish I knew what ever happened to Eddie Hanker. He was an important influence on me in learning how to relate to the Word with reverence. Whenever anyone was saying anything without critical foundation he would start yelling, "rega, rega!," which I think means something like 'hold on' or 'wait a minute' in Hebrew.

1 comment:

Kevin F said...

Re: hypertrophy. Actually, thats a great question. Great, now I am going to be thinking all day.

Ellie Wiesel had some interesting essays on Jerimiah back in the seventies, I lost all of them and now I can't find them.