26 June – Thursday in the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time
2 Kings 24:8-17
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.
At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.
The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Jesus said, ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.
A sensible man who built his house on rock.
I never used to buy those disclaimers that came with printers; which say to use only proprietary inks. Imitation inks were much more appealing. They did not appear to suffer quality-wise and were dirt cheap. One day my printer failed. The insides were gummed up with leaked ink and I had to get a new printer. I also used cheaper paper instead of the market leader. The printer did not fail but pages with pictures turned out horribly and I once had to spend more to have them reprinted at the last minute. Nowadays I stick only to proprietary inks and quality paper. The potential risks are just not worth the apparent savings.
The first reading presents a change of fortunes for Judah. After the good years of King Josiah’s rule, the country saw a return to profanity on the part of its leaders undoing 31 years of good works. Was this because Josiah’s reigned weakly? Clearly this is not. His successors chose not to follow his example and ignored the strong foundations set up by the godly king. Like their other notorious ancestors, they set up their own weak bases. It is as Christ says in the Gospel passage; they built their houses on sand rather than trust in the rocks favoured by Josiah.
The lesson for us, my brothers and sisters, is in choosing how we built ourselves up as temples of the Holy Spirit. In both of the above scenarios, there were two options. The first was perhaps a bit more demanding but came with guaranteed success. The alternative was untested and risky and both times led to failure. For us as well are two similar choices. Will we build ourselves on the easier to handle but flimsy sand of our own justifications and be cast away from Christ? Or will we set our foundations on the firm rock which is the word of God?
(Today’s reflection by Aloysius Ting)
Prayer: We pray that we will always be rooted in the Word of the Lord.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for giving us His assurance of quality and seal of approval.
27 June, Fri – 2 Kings 25:1-12; Matthew 8:1-4
28 June, Sat – Lamentations 2:2. 10-14; Matthew 8:5-17 – Memorial of St Irenaeus
Vigil of Sts Peter and Paul – Acts 3:1-10; Galatians 1:11-20; John 21:15-19
29 June, Sun – Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8. 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19 – Soleminty of Peter and Paul, Apostles
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