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Jeremiah establishes an opposition between the person who experiences spiritual dryness and the one who receives the blessing. The difference in attitude lies in the object of trust: man or God (see Jeremiah 17.5, Jeremiah 17.7). The contrast is striking in terms of vitality: resembling a shrub in the desert (see Jeremiah 17.6) or a tree that can draw its sustenance from a stream and bear fruit (see Jeremiah 17.8; Psalms 1.1-3).
The happiness of those who place their trust in God; The end of those who oppose the Lord. (5-11)
He who places his trust in man will be like heather in the desert, like a bare tree, a sad shrub, the product of barren, useless and worthless land. Those who trust in their own righteousness and strength, thinking that they can act without the help of Christ, rely only on the “flesh,” and their soul cannot prosper apart from any Grace or any comfort.
Those, on the other hand, who base their hope in God, will blossom like flourishing trees, whose leaf does not wither. They will live with peace of mind, fully satisfied; they will not be anxious in the time of drought. Those who make God their “Insurance” will find in Him everything they need. They will not cease to bear the fruit of holiness and good works.
The heart, (“the conscience of man”), in its fallen and corrupted state, is above all deceitful. He calls evil good and good evil; it changes bitterness into sweetness. The heart is hopelessly evil; he is destined to die, inevitably. It is indeed very harmful to see the conscience, whose role is to reveal our errors, lulling us into vain illusions.
We cannot know the real state of our heart, nor know what our conduct will be in the hour of temptation. Who can understand his own mistakes? How much more difficult is it to fathom the hearts of others, or worse, to be able to count on them!
He who, on this subject, leans on the divine directives, and learns to observe his own heart, will note the sad state of it, and will draw from it the lessons destined to direct his conduct in consequence.
But there still remains in our hearts, as indeed in those of others, a great deal of the unknown: what wickedness resides there, God discerns it very well! Men can deceive themselves, but God cannot be deceived. He who acquires wealth by unsavory processes will never be able to derive peaceful joy from it, when he believes he can base all his hope in it.
All this shows well the disappointments that such a man of the world will feel on the eve of his death, knowing that he must leave his wealth behind him! Although the latter cannot leave this earth, it will be otherwise with the guilt of a man: it will be for him an eternal torment.
The rich man goes to great lengths to obtain possessions; once acquired, it “broods” them and should be able to rest; but in fact he is never satisfied: the sinful ways of covetousness have ultimately been in vain.
Let’s be wise, let’s react in time! That what we acquire can be acquired in all honesty; let us know how to be charitable with what we have, then we will draw eternal wisdom from it!
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