28Jun June 28. Thursday of Week Twelve

2 Kings 24:8ff. The first deportation of the Israelites to Babylon, in 597 B.C.

Matt. 7:21ff. Faith counts more than words; we must build on rock, not sand.

Long-term Effects

God can enable us to reverse the sad consequences of our faults. But first we must become aware of those faults, and feel the nemesis of sin within our own experience. According to the covenant-theology that runs through the historical biblical books, from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings, the Israelites were blessed and cherished by God insofar as they kept His law, which was their side of the bargain; but they would be punished if they abandoned the covenant. This is precisely the reason, in this theology, why they were defeated by the Babylonians and carried off into shameful exile – so graphically described in the first reading. But the  long-term effects of that exile, the people reached a purified, more spiritual understanding of their faith. It is something we may hope will emerge from the Church’s present troubles, and from the large fall-off in churchgoing – that we may experience a new birth of faith through a return to a simpler, purer form of religion.

The house of peace is built on the rock of Christ where we are all one family, one blood. We must do much more than simply say “my brother, my sister” or “Lord, Lord!” It is not enough to make one single lavish display of goodwill and then think we can forget all about our neighbour. A house of mere words will not last; it is built on sand and will be easily washed away at the next storm. Jesus calls us to do the will of our heavenly Father, his Father and ours. We enter the kingdom of God, the secure house of faithful love, by doing the will of God continuously and faithfully.

First Reading:  2 Kings 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his father had done.

At that time the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it; King Jehoiachin of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself, his mother, his servants, his officers, and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign.

He carried off all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he cut in pieces all the vessels of gold in the temple of the Lord, which King Solomon of Israel had made, all this as the Lord had foretold. He carried away all Jerusalem, all the officials, all the warriors, ten thousand captives, all the artisans and the smiths; no one remained, except the poorest people of the land. He carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon; the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the elite of the land, he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. The king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valour, seven thousand, the artisans and the smiths, one thousand, all of them strong and fit for war. The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Gospel: Matthew 7:21-29

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!”

Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.


One Response

  1. Perry-mason

    I enjoy reading these posts and reflections. Thank you. Being a biblical illiterate with only passing acquaintance it’s helpful to have a greater understanding of the Scriptures themselves. To hear God speak through the Word and the Creation.

    We are used to just hearing readings at Mass – a lot of us, myself included – and haven’t got a clue about so much of it and wonder what the relevance of 2000+ years ago has today.

    “But the long-term effects of that exile, the people reached a purified, more spiritual understanding of their faith. It is something we may hope will emerge from the Church’s present troubles, and from the large fall-off in churchgoing – that we may experience a new birth of faith through a return to a simpler, purer form of religion.”

    I like what you are saying above.

    Things that strike me in the gospel passage from Matthew are the words, “Faith”, “Build” and “rock”. The faith that Christ is the Truth, Way and Life – the Son of God, revealed to and through Peter by faith is that very Rock upon which Church is built.

    And that we must do the will of the Father.

    Laws written on stone. Hearts of stone converted to hearts of flesh which contain those same laws then to be interpreted and lived from that heart. The will of the Father that those who believe in the Son and hear Him know eternal life in this Kingdom.

    “The Kingdom of God is within you,” beginning in and lived through the heart, with faith – the faith of a child taking us there.

    The faith that sees God as true Father as we are true children, all brothers and sisters of each other and heirs with Christ.

    There is so much in it when I think about it.

    This is not from a Catholic source as such but seems to speak similar truth, reality. I hope it’s not of the forbidden index and the Inquisition come after me for the vital organs.

    “”You have been taught to look for the coming of the Kingdom of God, and now I come announcing that this long- looked for Kingdom is near at hand, even that it is already here and in our midst.

    In every Kingdom there must be a king seated upon his throne and decreeing the laws of the realm. And so have you developed a concept of the Kingdom of Heaven as a glorified rule of the Jewish people over all the peoples of the earth with the Messiah sitting on David’s throne and from this place of miraculous power promulgating the laws of all the world. But children, you see not with the eye of faith, and you hear not with the understanding of the spirit. I declare that the Kingdom of heaven is the realization and acknowledgment of God’s rule within the hearts of men.

    True, there is a King in this kingdom, and that King is my Father and your Father. We are indeed his loyal subjects, but far transcending that fact is the transforming truth that we are his sons. In my life this truth is to become manifest to all.

    Our Father also sits upon a throne but not one made with hands. The throne of the Infinite is the eternal dwelling place of the Father in the Heaven of Heavens. He fills all things and proclaims his laws to universes upon universes. And the Father also rules within the hearts of his children on earth by the Spirit which he has sent to live within the souls of mortal men.

    When you are the subjects of this Kingdom, you indeed are made to hear the law of the Ruler of the Universe; but when, because of the gospel of the Kingdom which I have come to declare, you discover yourselves through faith as sons and daughters, you henceforth look not upon yourselves as law-subject creatures of an all-powerful King but as privileged sons and daughters of a loving and divine Father.

    Verily, verily, I say to you, when the Father’s will is your law, you are hardly in the Kingdom. But when the Father’s will becomes truly your will, then are you in very truth in the Kingdom because the Kingdom has thereby become an established experience in you.

    When God’s will is your law, you are noble slave subjects; but when you believe in this new gospel of divine sonship, my Father’s will becomes your will, and you are elevated to the high position of the free children of God, liberated sons and daughters of the Kingdom.”

    Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

    I changed the name/avatar not to be dishonest – rather with a sincere desire to relate to all here as something other than ‘survivor’. Whatever about all the rest – the message that speaks to all of us seems to speak a truth to our hearts we all need, and want to hear.

    Thanks for the daily reflections. I enjoy these and their good ‘long term effects’ spiritually.