Day 198: The Day of the Lord

Isaiah 14:1-23 The fall of Babylon would be more dramatic than its victories. Babylon’s powerful domination and fall both bring to light God’s power over history and creation. (CCC 668)

Ch 14:24-27 Assyria did the Lord’s bidding in its defeat of Samaria and its attacks on Judea, but the Assyrians took their barbaric onslaughts further than God had desired and afterward took all the credit for their victories. Assyria was thus condemned for its pride and its excesses. 

Ch 14:28-32 The Philistines at one point stole the Ark of the Covenant and battled Assyria during its alliance with Judah during the reign of the corrupt King Ahaz.

Chs 15-16 These chapters are devoted to a prophecy against Moab, a people who sometimes did battle with Judah. Isaiah mourned Moab’s condemnation because the Moabites were distant relatives of the Tribes of Israel.

The Book of Joel

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(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Joel 1:1-20 This book begins with an urgent prophecy to react to the chastisements heaped on Israel. These troubles-represented by the plague of locusts-were a warning of still heavier punishment awaiting the people if they would not turn away from sin. Joel called for Israel to repent through prayer and fasting in the hope of securing forgiveness.

Ch 1:14 Fast: Abstaining from food for reasons of atonement for sin and love of God is a traditional religious practice that dates to the early days of ancient Israel. It remains a discipline in the Church today, especially during Lent. (CCC 1387, 1969, 2043)

Ch 2:1-17 Sounding the alarm, Joel announced poetically a coming tribulation. God would manifest justice by punishing his people for their sin. These verses reflect a sense of urgency to offer God a contrite heart expressed in deeds of penance. 

Ch 2:12-18 These verses explain the nature of true conversion. Repentance must transcend mere words or external gestures and elicit true contrition for sin and commitment to keep God’s laws. Visible signs and acts of penance are meaningful only if they express a true interior sorrow and resolution to avoid sin. Without that change of heart, these gestures remain false and empty. Christ re-emphasized the need for a change of heart when he stated that God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Mt 9:13; 12:7; cf. Hos 6:6). These verses are read at Mass on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the penitential season of Lent. (CCC 1430, 1856)

Ch 2:18-27 God speaks of a time to come when he will come to the aid of his people and Israel will prosper once again. 

Fear not...great things: This verse brings to mind the Annunciation, the announcement of the angel to Mary that she would conceive the Son of God made flesh, as well as the Magnificat, Mary’s joyful canticle as she greeted her cousin Elizabeth. 

Praise the name of the Lord your God: God revealed his name to Moses on Mount Sinai as “I AM WHO I AM,” which denotes his infinite perfection, especially his existence from eternity.

I am in the midst of Israel: This verse hints at the Incarnation, by which Christ became man and dwell among us. (CCC 207)

Ch 2:28-32 The outpouring of the Holy Spirit described here by Joel is an infusion of supernatural grace that purifies and sanctifies a person. Immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, Peter used this passage from Joel to explain their sudden transformation and their newly acquired ability to speak many different languages (cf. Acts 2:1-21; St John Paul II, Address, November 8, 1989). This passage is read at mass on the Vigil of the Solemnity of Pentecost. (CCC 707, 739)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and with our mouths we want to give you glory and we want to say words that honor you, God, because you are so good. You love us so well and you love us so fully every single day. So please, Lord, help us to know your love. Help us to know your name. And help us to know your voice. And help us always to speak of your love, to speak of your name, and to speak with the voice that you would speak because it is true that we need to guard our words and we need to guide our words. Another way to say it, Father, I just ask that you guard my words and that you guide my words. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”