Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Practicing Evil

Daily Readings
Sirach 27:30-28:26 + II Kings 16 + II Chronicles 27 + Jeremiah 49

Quote of the Day
Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Sirach 28:2

Daily Text: II Kings 16

Practicing Evil
The contradictions in the Ahaz story are legendary, or they should be legendary! In the first place his age when he began to rule was 16 and after twenty years of rule his son Hezekiah began to rule at the age of 25. So the father was 11 eleven years old at Hezekiah’s birth? Then in II Kings it is said that Aram and Israel were unable to conquer him (vs. 5). II Chronicles 28 suggests that not only did they conquer him individually, but they each took captive a great number of his people, 200, 000 by Israel alone!

What is not in question is Ahaz’ doing wrong before God. He followed the pattern of Israelite kings in this, rather than the pattern set by Judah’s monarchs. He himself sacrificed to Baal, something never before said of a Judean king, and furthermore he sacrificed his own sons to the fires of Moloch. Evidently, these sons did not die, for if they did and one of them was the firstborn, at what age would Ahaz have fathered him? On the other hand, younger infant sons could have been sacrificed to Moloch. Jeremiah (19:5) prophesying within a 100 years certainly believes that children died in Judah as sacrifices and only Ahaz and his grandson Manasseh were the only kings to pass their children through fire in Judah, such was the strength of the prohibition and the horror of the practice.

Ahaz practiced evil in Jerusalem. What is required to bring a man to such action, then or now?

Israel Mocked
Anonymous“Why so sad, thou princely child?”
Moloch’s servants scornfully chide,
Times appear and pass away
Why does son of Jesse hide?
If your God in Heaven’s height
Will bring you to His holy hill
Wherefore then we seek to know
Why His chariots linger still?

I hoped that all my foes
Would see my swift redemption;
But they mock and say: “Away as a cloud
It passeth; no hope is left for thee.”
I hearken shame-filled, and my tears
Flow unresistingly.
403:220

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