Monday, 4 August 2008

My Thoughts on the Bible Readings of the day

The two readings today are similar in their theme of fear: fear of the future in the reading from the book of Jeremiah, and fear of the uncontrollable in the gospel reading.

The reading from Jeremiah happened after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had sacked Israel and Judah. The people of these two countries feared his return, and longed for the return of treasures and exiles of theses two countries. Is it suprising that someone would come to assuage their fear and fulfill their hopes? We don't know if Hananiah truly believed his own prophecy or was just playing to the people. It doesn't matter- both led people away from God's intentions for them- to repent and return to the Lord and His laws. After all God sent Nebuchadnezzar to punish Israel and Judah, and here was Hananiah saying that they weren't really punished, just unlucky! No wonder God condemned him. Thus we should, like Jeremiah, put our trust in prophecies only after they have been fulfilled.

The gospel reading shows how far way from Jesus His disciple still were. Think about it: they had spent so much time with Him, and yet couldn't recognize Him from a few feet away? The fact is that they feared Nature more then they trusted God and His Son. They forgot that Nature, no matter how dangerous, was still a thing of God, and as long as they were under His protection, they need not fear. It wasn't until Jesus defeated death that they fully understood this though.

Memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney

So who is this saint for whom we celebrate the memory of today? Here's something on him from Wikipedia:

- patron saint of parish priests
- born and baptized on 8 May 1786 in the town of Dardilly, France
- related to priests as though they were heroes, since the French Revolution forced those priests to hide from the government in order to carry out the sacraments in their parish
- recruited by Napoleon's armies in Spain (though his recruitment was a mistake, since privately tutored theological students in the archdiocese of Lyon were exempt from conscription) but deserted and lived in a communal village called Les Noes where other deserted troops had hid themselves
- returned to Ecully legally under an Imperial decree, passed in 1810, which granted all deserters from the years 1806 to 1810 to be exempt from punishment
- became "Curé d'Ars" (the parish priest of Ars, a remote town not far from Lyons) shortly after the death of his mentor, M. Balley, who was the curé [parish priest] of Ecully
- began to be known internationally, and people from distant places began traveling to hear his sermons. Also performed miracles throughout his life, e.g. supernatural knowledge of the past and future, and healing the sick (especially children)
- died at age seventy three on 4 August 1859, proclaimed venerable by Pope Pius IX on 3 October 1874 ; declared Blessed and proposed as a model to the parochial clergy on 8 January 1905 by Pope Pius X; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925.
- His feast day falls on the anniversary of his death (August 4).

Bible Readings of the day (Memorial of St John Mary Vianney)

Today is Mon 4 August & here are the readings:

Jeremiah 28: 1-17
The following events occurred in that same year, early in the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. To be more precise, it was the fifth month of the fourth year of his reign. The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people. “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude5 to the king of Babylon. Before two years are over, I will bring back to this place everything that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from it and carried away to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and all the exiles who were taken to Babylon.’ Indeed, the Lord affirms, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon.’”

Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do all this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true! May he bring back to this place from Babylon all the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple and the people who were carried into exile. But listen to what I say to you and to all these people. From earliest times, the prophets who preceded you and me invariably prophesied war, disaster, and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. So if a prophet prophesied peace and prosperity, it was only known that the Lord truly sent him when what he prophesied came true.”

The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way.

But shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. “Go and tell Hananiah that the Lord says, ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one! For the Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’” Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie! So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’”

In the seventh month of that very same year the prophet Hananiah died.

Matthew 14: 22-36
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dispersed the crowds. And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already far from land, was taking a beating from the waves because the wind was against it. As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the water they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the people there recognized him, they sent word into all the surrounding area, and they brought all their sick to him. They begged him if they could only touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Daily Bible Verse

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