Day 247: True Repentance

Jeremiah 33:1-13 Through the prophet, the Lord elaborated once again that he would eventually restore Judah and Jerusalem and would return the exiles back to their land. These prophecies drive home the truth that God is All-powerful and All-knowing and is, therefore, the Lord of history. In his infinite wisdom and power, God can undo the chaos and destructive effects of sin provided there is a repentance and conversion. Jeremiah predicts not only that Judah will be restored but also that it will win the admiration of other nations.

Ch 33:14-26 The Lord promised once again a future king for Israel, a descendant of David, as well as sufficient priests to offer the ritual sacrifices in the Temple. The continuity of the Davidic dynasty would be interrupted by the Babylonian captivity. Nevertheless, the line of David would culminate with the coming of the Messiah, the eternal King. (CCC 439, 559)

Ch 33:24 Two families: Judah and Israel, the Southern and Northern Kingdoms.

Ch 34:1-7 Chapters 34-37 detail Jeremiah’s encounters with the kings of Judah. In this chapter, his prophecy to Zedekiah, the King of Judah installed by Nebuchadnezzar after the first exile, states that he would avoid dying a violent death provided he accepted defeat and capture as just penalties. Zedekiah, however, did not comply with the divine instructions and subsequently was blinded and tortured, which eventually led to his death in exile. 

Ch 34:8-22 The new regulations regarding slaves may have been a consequence of the wars with Babylon. Perhaps these policies reflect the Mosaic Law governing debts and jubilees, or maybe the slaves were liberated to assist in the war effort.

Judith 3:1-9 The inhabitants of Azotus and Ascalon begged Holofernes for peace. Taking advantage of the sorry plight of the Jews, Holofernes destroyed their shrines and sacred places. These acts of violence against what was most dear to the Jews encouraged Nebuchadnezzar’s claim of divinity. 

Ch 4:1-15 The people of Judah responded to this unjust oppression by repenting from their sins with fasting, prayer, burnt offerings, almsgiving, and wearing sackcloth and ashes. Fasting was required in Jewish Law only on the Day of Atonement, but the practice soon became linked to penance, reparation, and the resolution to embrace the teachings of the prophets. (CCC 2629)

Ch 5:1-24 Achior, King of the Ammonites, offered to teach Holofernes about the uniqueness of Israelite history. He explained that Israel’s survival and prosperity throughout history was due to divine intervention more than military might. Holofernes and his men summarily ignored the special predilection God had for Israel. (CCC 201, 762)

Proverbs 16:33 This proverb is illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles when the Apostles cast lots to select a replacement for Judas: they prayed to the Lord and trusted that the lots would fall in favor of the man chosen by God (cf. Acts 1:24-26). Reflecting the spirit of the early Church, the College of Cardinals gather to elect a new Pope, praying to the Holy Spirit that they might be conduits of God’s choice. (CCC 77, 1209, 1399, 1555, 1576)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory as always. Gosh, Lord, every single day we praise you and we give you thanks. Help us to walk in your ways. Help us to belong to you. Help us to pick up our cross daily, and to follow after you daily, to deny ourselves daily, and to be yours every single day. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.”