Day 218: Each Will Be Judged

Isaiah 57:1-13 Echoing the condemnations stated earlier, this prophet condemned idolatry and the religious leaders who allowed it or even encouraged it as a form of worship. This blatant infidelity warrants deep repentance and conversion. Idolatry, being a gravely evil act of infidelity, is compared to adultery and prostitution. 

Ch 57:14-21 The Lord consoled those who had been faithful and promised an abundance of blessings. God, who loves each individual personally and infinitely, has a special predilection for the poor and downtrodden.

Ch 57:15 Contrite and humble spirit: Reconciliation requires true sorrow for sin and a firm resolution to avoid all sin. (CCC 1450-1453)

Ch 58:1-2 The “cry” demanded of the prophet was a call to interior reform and fidelity to the covenant. The leaders and prophets were too corrupt to correct the abuses and sins of the people. Isaiah was urged here to speak out courageously and without fear so that everyone was called to account for his or her behavior and understood the necessity of repentance. (CCC 1427, 1429)

Ch 58:3-14 Fasting has value to the degree that it is accompanied by a sincere disposition for holiness and a spirit of charity toward others. External acts performed for the sake of appearances have no merit since the intention is to build up vanity and to win the admiration of others. It is important to bear in mind that rectitude of the will is essential in all good works. (CCC 1430, 1755)

CH 58:6-7 The prophets of the Old Testament frequently condemned injustice, fraud, and exploitation particularly when it victimized the poor and vulnerable. Deeds of mercy and selfless service are a perfection of the virtue of justice. There can be no charity without the foundation of justice. Christ revealed that he is especially present in the poor and downtrodden. The Church identifies seven CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, and burying the dead) and seven SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY (admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, bearing wrongs patiently, counseling the doubtful, forgiving injuries, comforting the sorrowful, and praying for the living and the dead). (CCC 1397, 2447)

Ezekiel 17:1-24 The first eagle represents Nebuchadnezzar, while the second represents the Pharaoh with whom Israel had formed an alliance. The cedar is Jerusalem, and the trimming of its top represents the first exile in which Nebuchadnezzar took the elite of Judah into captivity. King Jehoiachin is the “topmost of its young wings” who likewise went into exile but years later was given a respectable place in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s son. Zedekiah, who entered into the pact with Egypt, represents the seed placed on the throne of Jerusalem that is destined to grow in the future. Ezekiel’s purpose was to show that Jerusalem had fallen and the people exiled because Israel broke its covenant with God. In turn, God kept the covenant but punished his people to bring them to repentance. Israel, therefore, would only receive the benefits of the covenant upon conversion. (CCC 346)

Ch 18:1-20 Another metaphor is introduced to explain the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile. God, as a loving father, disciplines his children to reform and reestablish his relationship (covenant) with them. In this passage there is less emphasis on collective sin by which a whole people suffers as a consequence; rather, these passages make it abundantly clear that the wretched state of the Jewish people stemmed from personal sin. (CCC 1888)

Ch 18:5-9 The sins and good works enumerated here are by no means exhaustive but provide examples simply of just and unjust behavior under the Ten Commandments and the moral law. All the Commandments serve as the pathway, for a righteous person “walks in my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances.” Several sins against social justice, particularly those that oppress the poor and needy, are mentioned along with sins of idolatry and adultery. (CCC 2056)

Ch 18:21-32 God glories in forgiving those who turn back to him, and he ardently desires the salvation of all. His forgiveness is contingent on our willingness to accept his laws and to fulfill his will. (CCC 1437, 2595)

Proverbs 13:7 St. Augustine read this proverb as pertaining not to worldly possessions but to “the riches of the heart,” which he called “the greatest form of wealth: full of strength, shining with piety, overflowing with love, they are riches in themselves and have an intrinsic value” (Sermones, 36, 7). Paul expressed a corollary to this proverb when he spoke of the hardships and persecutions that the Apostles must endure: They are treated “as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:10). (CCC 2053)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you. We thank you so much for giving us your Wisdom and sharing with us the way in which you see, the way in which you think. Just like we recognize yesterday that you spoke to us and said that your ways are not our ways. Our minds, our thoughts, are not your thoughts. We are so grateful for that. We are so grateful that you do share your ways. You share your thoughts with us. And so we ask you to please, once again, like we prayed yesterday, like we keep on praying, allow your words to continue to change our hearts. Allow your power to change our lives. Allow your Grace to change us forever, so we can belong to you not only today, but also in Eternity. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”