Day 217: The Everlasting Covenant

Isaiah 55:1 Christ invites us to drink of the “living water,” which is the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit that pours forth from Christ and grants us eternal life. Baptism, which purifies and elevates the soul through an infusion of grace, is necessary for salvation; through “water and the spirit” (Jn 3:5), a person receives infused virtues, among which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 694, 762, 2121)

Ch 55:6 Seek the near: These words display a sense of urgency to capitalize on the present opportunities to be united to God. The reality of death brings to mind that life is fleeting; therefore, our days to live a holy life are finite.

Ch 56:1-8 This chapter includes the third and final section of this book, which relates various prophecies about the New Jerusalem and other foreign nations. The prophecies cover the period after the exiles had returned from Babylon to Judah. The first one speaks of how the restored Temple would become a universal place of worship.

My house...a house of prayer: Christ quoted this verse as he drove the vendors and moneychangers from the Temple (cf. Mt 21:12-23). Silence and reverence are proper dispositions for prayer and meditation, which is why sacred places designated for prayer are conducive artistically and architecturally to piety. (CCC 2691-2693, 2696)

Ch 56:9-12 Once again the priests and false prophets of Israel were taken to task for misleading and confusing the people entrusted to their care. 

Ezekiel 16:1-34 God’s love for each person knows no bounds, and every metaphor falls short of capturing the depth and intensity of his love for us. God’s paternal love for his people, which reflects both fatherly and motherly characteristics, infinitely surpasses the love of all earthly parents combined. This unconditional love includes the ready disposition to forgive sins and to bestow his loving mercy on anyone who repents. (CCC 219)

Ch 16:6-7 I passed by you: This does not indicate that God ignores his people; rather, he removes sin and fills with happiness all who come to him. In this instance, an orphan waif turned into a woman of great beauty, which may be symbolic of the poverty of the sinner who becomes purified and beautiful in the eyes of God.

Ch 16:8-14 The bride represents the Chosen People, whose covenant with God is likened to the intimate union of a husband and a wife. Using this spousal imagery, Israel is portrayed as a bride of magnificent beauty. (CCC 1611)

Ch 16:15-34 Despite being a recipient of so many gifts and blessings, the woman (Israel) engaged in repeated acts of adultery, believing that her beauty was of her own creation. Adultery is a metaphor for idolatry, so the prophecy condemns Israel for its frequent forays into the pagan practices of its neighbors.

Lofty place: this is a reference to pagan idols and places of worship, which is often a hilltop but sometimes simply a pole or pillar supporting a graven image. (CCC 2380)

Ch 16:35-43 The harlot would be condemned and her sentence carried out by her lovers; in other words, Israel would face punishment from her pagan neighbors, the very ones whose idols they worshiped.

Ch 16:44-58 Sodom, which was destroyed because of rampant perversion, and Samaria, which experienced an exile as punishment for idolatry, are characterized as sisters of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem were responsible for the greatest sins because their transgressions took place despite the holiness of the city, the presence of the Temple, and the presence of God within the Temple.

Ch 16:49 Neglecting to provide for the care of the poor is gravely evil. (CCC 2208-2210)

CH 16:59-63 Despite this condemnation of Israel, the Lord pledged his forgiveness and promised an everlasting covenant and the eventual restoration of Jerusalem. 

Proverbs 13:1 All authority comes from the Fatherhood of God; this truth applies especially to earthly fathers and mothers. The Fourth Commandment calls for children, whether in their youth or as adults, to give honor to their parents. Such respect is expressed in obedience in the case of minors and in love and affection regardless of age. Within family life, parents should educate their children in a spirit of wisdom and of an appreciation for the virtuous life. (CCC 1653, 2214, 2221, 2688)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and Glory. Oh man, God. Every single day you bring us to this place where we get to hear your Word. And your Word, just like Isaiah described, your Word is living and effective. Your Word does not return to you void. Your Word accomplishes your will. And we are just so grateful. Your will accomplishes your will, Lord God, just as the rain and snow come down. So please help us. Help us to say yes to what you will for us. Help us to say yes to your Word today for us. And help us to say yes to you and your will for us this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”