"He burned the house of the Lord, the palace of the king, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every large building was destroyed by fire. Then the Chaldean troops who were with the captain of the guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem." —2 Kings 25:9-10
The horror and terror of today's first eucharistic reading is probably impossible for a non-Jew to understand. The utter desolation of the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile has been surpassed for the Jewish people only by the "Holocaust" of the World War II. Imagine enemy soldiers running through your home to loot your possessions, rape your family, and torch your home. Picture bullet-ridden loved ones lying dead in your homes and streets. Hear the shrieks of children running through the streets looking for dead or exiled parents. Even these horrors are only a weak analogy of the destruction of the Temple, the fall of Jerusalem, and the Babylonian exile.
The Lord depicts these horrors in the Scriptures in order to prevent them from being repeated. We can do so only by removing the cause of Jerusalem's fall, which was sin and the refusal to repent. "The wages of sin is death" (Rm 6:23). Consequently, let us not deceive ourselves and think that this applies to the past, to Jews, or to other people. Let us get the wooden beams out of our own eyes (Mt 7:5). May the Holy Spirit convict us of our sins (see Jn 16:8) and immerse us in repentance, as St. John the Baptist proclaimed (Acts 13:24).
Repent now before it's too late. Cry out to Jesus of mercy.
Prayer: Father, free me from the spiritual blindness and self-deception inherent to sin.
Promise: "Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him and said, 'I do will it. Be cured.' Immediately the man's leprosy disappeared." —Mt 8:3
Praise: Not having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for over twenty years, Cindy embraced the sacrament in a new way and promised God to never be so remiss again.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003
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