Day 227: The Towering Cedar

Jeremiah 4:1-4 God was willing to forgive Israel despite its many infidelities. As in so many previous instances, God asked for a true conversion of heart and commitment of fidelity to the covenant. (CCC 2795)

Ch 4:5-31 While the previous prophecies pertained more to Jeremiah’s vision of the almond rod, the prophecies beginning here and continuing through Chapter 10 pertain to the vision of the boiling pot. These prophecies may predate the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, a period of great uncertainty during which the various enemies of Judah were poised for possible invasion. The basic message from God was that the people of Judah should fear God rather than the opposing armies, which God could overcome. Understanding the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, these prophecies apply to the consequences of sin, which incur self-destruction and loss of freedom. Rather, we should have recourse to the graces won by Christ’s redemptive Sacrifice, which bring about an interior transformation and lead to everlasting life. (CCC 2825)

Ezekiel 31:1-18 Before its defeat, Egypt was compared to a cedar, which perhaps was the strongest and most useful tree of the region. The ideal cedar described here represents Pharaoh’s strength, which, in the end, God caused to be overpowered.

Ch 32:1-32 This poem puts Pharaoh in a negative light in contrast to the previous prophecy. God’s triumph was made manifest in the punishment of Egypt and the other nations on account of their crimes. By predicting the fall of Israel’s traditional enemies, This prophecy lends hope to the Jews in exile. (CCC 715)

Ch 32:18 Nether world...the Pit: Before the Redemption brought by Christ, the people of Israel believed that the spirits of the deceased, whether they were good or evil, were destined for the “netherworld.” The gates of Heaven would not be opened until the Messiah had atoned for the sins of the world. It is an article of faith that Christ “descended into hell”-here meaning the abode of the dead, not the eternal fire of the damned-to bring the Good News of salvation to the deceased righteous and usher them into Heaven. (CCC 633)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. Gosh, Lord God, what a gift you are and what a gift your Word is. What an incredible gift it is to be able to be on Day 227 on this journey through your Word and the journey of your Word through us. Because that is what’s happening, Lord God. It’s not just our journeying through your Word. It is your story, your Word, your self journeying through us, making your way to our minds, to our hearts, and to our actions that our lives may be built upon your truth and your wisdom. Lord God, help us to put that truth and wisdom into practice this day and every day. Help us to build our lives upon you, upon Jesus Christ the Rock. Help us to be inspired and guided and given courage by the Holy Spirit at every moment of every day all of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”