Day 206: The Book of Baruch

Isaiah 32:1-20 This messianic prophecy announces a future king who would provide justice and protection for his people. A sign of his coming would be the destruction of Jerusalem, which would serve the purpose of bringing the people to repentance and conversion. The Messiah would found a new kingdom that would last forever through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Ch 32:17 True peace is the work of justice and a result of authentic love. Injustice in the form of violations of human rights and dignity severely threatens peace. Respect for human life and opportunities for the proper development of persons, families, and societies are the best guarantors against strife and unrest. (CCC 2304)

Ch 33:1-23 Destroyer: This could be Assyria or any number of nations that successfully battled Judah and Israel; it would in turn be destroyed after accomplishing its evil deeds. The prophecy, expressed in prayer, asked for the full measure of the Spirit to descend upon all the people. This request led to a hymn extolling the wonders of the newly restored Jerusalem.

Ch 33:15 Isaiah identified six moral duties that define a faithful and righteous believer. In essence, they all pertain to avoiding temptation through vigilance of sight, avoidance of loose talk, etc. “As it is easy to perceive, the principal senses of the body are challenged” by temptation, said St. John Paul II. “Indeed, the hands, feet, eyes, ears, and tongue are involved in human moral behavior.” The virtuous response is to practice temperance and self-denial, which foster “a complete refusal to have anything to do with evil. (General Audience, October 30, 2002)

Ch 33:24 The ancients believed that illness and misfortune were the result of personal sin or, in some cases, the sins of one’s parents. Although many sins do cause physical and psychological damage-for example, gluttony, drunkenness, or drug abuse-not all suffering is caused by sin. An important dimension to suffering is its redemptive value. When we unite our personal pain, sickness, discomforts, and tribulations to the sufferings of Christ, they provide wonderful opportunities for repentance, conversion, and spiritual growth. (CCC 1502)

The Book of Baruch

Author and Date:


Main Themes:

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

Baruch 1-6 This book, like Lamentations, is associated with the Book of Jeremiah and was sometimes considered an appendix or companion piece to it. Baruch was a scribe who assisted Jeremiah during the years leading up to and following the Babylonian Exile; the book bearing his name corresponds to the years spent in exile. Not being part of the wave of people initially deported to Babylon, Baruch and Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem until they were forced to flee to Egypt, and some sources say they were among those taken to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt. Nevertheless, the Book of Baruch concerns both the exiles and the remnant left in Jerusalem. The Book of Baruch was written in Greek. Thus, it is not found in the Hebrew Bible, although it forms part of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, which follow the Greek Septuagint.

Ch 1:1-9 Baruch read an account of the state of Jerusalem to the deportees in Babylon in order to provoke them to sorrow for their sins and to foster a spirit of atonement. The strategy worked, and subsequently a generous collection was taken to assist the people suffering the famine in Jerusalem. 

Wept, fasted, and prayed: These three penitential acts underscored the sincerity of their contrition.

Ch 1:10-21 The exiles fully recognized their sins and therefore asked for an offering of atonement. They also asked prayers for Nebuchadnezzar and his son since they were resigned to live under pagan rule as a just punishment for their sins. (CCC 1440)

Ch 2:1-5 The horror of the destruction of Jerusalem accompanied by a famine led to desperation and a breakdown of morality.

Ch 2:6-35 The exiles knew they had sinned, and they knew their punishments were just. In retrospect, the prophets had foretold the severe punishments due to violations of the covenant as far back as the time of Moses.

Proverbs 11:18 This proverb echoes Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: “He who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal 6:8). (CCC 1852, 2516, 2733)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We ask you to please help us, once again as we pray these Proverbs, we ask you to help us to become the people who are kind and the person who is righteous and the person who lives in right relationship with you. Help us to actually live in right relationship with you this day and every day. Lord God, help us to hear your words clearly. To understand them, and understand not only how you spoke to your People Israel but also how you are speaking in your Scripture today, to us, to your people now. We bear your name like they bore your name. So please, as you were faithful with them, be faithful with us. And we give you praise and we love you. We make this prayer in the mighty name of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”