Day 248: Cut to the Heart

Jeremiah 35:1-19 This chapter dates to before the first deportation to Babylon in 597 BC. Little is known of the Rechabites except that they were a singular group who remained faithful to God’s covenant. They were a nomadic tribe who, like the Nazirites, lived a life of asceticism, which included a renunciation of wine. The Rechabites fled from their secluded areas to the relative safety of Jerusalem for protection from the encroaching armies of Babylon. Though hungry and thirsty from their travels, they still, out of loyalty to their strict ascetical way of life, refused the wine offered them. Prompted by divine inspiration, Jeremiah praised the Rechabites as an example of fidelity to the laws of God for all of the Chosen People.

Ch 36:1-32 Jeremiah was banished from the Temple about 605 BC, so the Lord instructed him to write down all his prophecies to date. He dictated his words to Baruch, his scribe, and had Baruch read the scroll in the Temple. When word of the prophecies reached the king, he had the scroll destroyed, which angered the Lord. Jeremiah consequently dictated a new scroll of these same prophecies to Baruch.

Judith 6:1-20 Holofernes took Nebuchadnezzar’s words regarding victories over Israel as if coming from a divine being. Therefore, the divine attribution ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar would give the war between the Judeans and Babylonians a strong religious component. (CCC 2096-2097)

Ch 7:1-32 Uzziah delayed the surrender in the hope that God would intervene. He held to this faith even in the face of dire hardships and mutiny among the people but set a deadline in an attempt to provoke God’s action. Unwittingly, by placing conditions on God’s providence, he committed the sin of tempting God by trying to impose his own will on him. (CCC 2118-2119)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you so much. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for pouring out your Wisdom, pouring out your care upon us. Lord God, we come before you this day in need of your mercy. Not only in need of your wisdom and your guidance, but also in need of your mercy. That just like the people of Israel cried out to you, knowing that even if there is no immediate answer, yet you hear our prayers and you care. Not that you hear and are indifferent. Not that you just see our pain and are indifferent. You hear our cries. You see our pain and you care. Lord God, help us to trust in your care. Help us to trust in your power to save us. And help us to trust in you this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”