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

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Nations: Bible Comment on Ezekiel 25 with poem by Joseph ibn Sahl, The Fleas

Daily Readings
Ecclesiastes 10 Judges 21 Ezekiel 25 John 4

Daily Text: Ezekiel 25

The Nations
Ezekiel 25 opens a ‘book’ of prophecies against the nations that continues through chapter 32. Here there four surrounding nations named: Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia. The greatest detail rests with Ammon, Judah’s local partner opposing Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of coming to Judah’s assistance, Ammon has celebrated her demise! This cannot be left unaddressed and God and Ezekiel do so in this address. The remaining three nations are addressed with enough particular details included to give them some standing as having come initially from the hand of the prophet. That they also reflect later additions is not to be quarreled with.

The issue is that YHWH will not let the surrounding nations believe that Judah has no significance simply because their God has disciplined her. Instead, Ezekiel will extend his God’s assertion that Judah’s God is also God of all nations and their destiny is wrapped in his will. By disciplining them he will let them know directly through the prophet and their punishment that the Lord of Judah is likewise the Lord of their land.

The Fleas
Joseph ibn Sahl
died c.1123

And the fleas charge like war-horses;
they swoop down like birds to devour my skin.
They caper around me like he-goats,
and rouse me out of my sleep.
I have become weary of killing
both young and old to rout them;
yet they know no fear.
They are stout-hearted like warriors in battle
who pluck up their courage when their comrades fall.
Though they are a bit lazy during the day,
when night comes they are as nimble as thieves.
Day after day I loathe them,
and my hands are sick of killing them;
but their bites have covered my flesh with sores
that blossom like pomegranates.
O God, wipe them out,
for I am in anguish and cannot sleep—while they exult!
443:322

Collect for the Day
I will kindle my fire this morning
In presence of the holy angels of heaven,
In presence of Ariel of the loveliest form,
In presence of Uriel of the myriad charms,
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle Thou in my heart within
A flame of love to my neighbour,
To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall,
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.
[489:79:April 13 Carmina Gadelica, Vol. I, page 231]

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