Day 215: False Prophets

Isaiah 51:1-8 The servant reassured those faithful to God’s covenant that his fidelity to them would endure forever. Though opposition and persecution would afflict God’s faithful, they would inherit great blessings, and all injustices would be punished in due time. (CCC 2561)

Ch 51:7 In whose heart is my law: God has inscribed his natural law on the human heart so it is knowable and accessible to every human person. Thus, every person has an innate ability to discern between good and evil. However, due to our fallen nature inherited through Original Sin, the human mind and human will require grace to discern right and wrong accurately. (CCC 1959-1960)

Ch 51:9-16 The servant appealed to God, seeking his help for the sake of the exiles returning to Judah as they attempted to rebuild their nation and the city of Jerusalem. In response, the Lord promised his comfort and presence among his people.

Ch 51:17-23 The people of Jerusalem had consumed the symbolic cup of God’s wrath and were now well disposed to repent of their sins. The Lord said that Babylon, the great oppressor of the Jewish people, would incur greater punishment than the citizens of Judah.

Ch 52:1-12 The servant called upon the people of Jerusalem (Zion) to rebuild the city with confidence in the firm knowledge that the Lord would assist them and would remain with them always. (CCC 62, 713)

Ch 52:7-10 This passage is proclaimed as the First Reading at the Mass during the day on the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). The messenger who crossed the mountains announced the Lord’s return to Jerusalem and the deportees’ return. Peace, good tidings, and salvation await those who walk in the ways of God. 

Ch 52:13-53:12 This is the fourth and final “servant song” of Isaiah, the longest of the four. It is rich with prophecies about Christ, particularly his Passion and Death. For this reason, this lengthy but poignantly poetic passage constitutes the First Reading at the liturgy on Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday). (CCC 713)

Ezekiel 12:1-20 The prophecies at times take on the form of symbolic actions at the request of the Lord. In the first of these kinds of prophecies, Ezekiel carried his possessions as if going on a forced exile, which was a warning that another exile was going to take place. The second was to remind those who stayed in Jerusalem that they would experience a famine as a result of the Babylonian Conquest.

Ch 12:20-28 The people did not take Ezekiel seriously because prophets had sometimes warned of dire consequences that did not happen as expected. Through Ezekiel, however, the Lord affirmed that he would fulfill the prophecies. (CCC 710)

Ch 13:1-16 False prophets, who provided the people with positive messages rather than challenging them for their selfishness, abounded during this period. God did not inspire these words; rather, they were invented for the purpose of placating the people and securing their good favor.

Like foxes among ruins: The prophets were compared to scavengers who looked for a way to profit from the tragedies of others. 

Daub it with white-wash: This accusation was levied against the false prophets who would gloss over the sins of the people rather than confront them with a call to repentance.

Ch 13:17-23 The Lord denounced the women who were involved with the black arts. The pastoral tone employed indicates that he was seeking their conversion rather than pronouncing condemnation upon them. (CCC 2117, 2138)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you so much. Thank you for your Word. We thank you for loving us. We thank you for calling us by name. We thank you for not only your justice, but also for your mercy. And not only for your mercy, but also for your justice. Because we can count on you, God. Because you are not fickle. You are not up and down. You are not hot or cold. You have said yes. And your yes has been declared for us. God, help us to declare our yes for you. Help us to be wise. Help us to be courageous. Help us above all things to be yours in all ways. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”