Psalter: Week 2
Ps 69:33–35, 36–37
The Lord listens to the poor.
1st Reading: Bar 4:5–12, 27–29
Take courage, my people, you who preserve the memory of Israel. You have been sold to the nations but not for your destruction; because you had aroused the anger of God, you were delivered to your enemies. For you displeased your Creator in sacrificing to demons and not to God. You have forgotten the Eternal God, the one who nourished you. You have filled Jerusalem with sadness, she who brought you up. For she saw the anger of God fall on you and she said, “Listen, you neighboring cities of Zion, God has sent me a great sorrow. I have seen the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Eternal one brought on them. I had nurtured them in joy; with tears and sadness I saw them leave. Let no one rejoice on seeing me a widow and abandoned by all. Because of the sins of my children I am now alone, because they have turned away from the law of God.
Take courage, my children, cry out to God, for he who sent you into exile will remember you.
Thus, as you distanced yourself from God, return to him and seek him ten times more earnestly. For he who caused these evils to fall on you will bring you salvation and eternal joy.
Gospel: Lk 10:17–24
The seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on your name.” Then Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, don’t rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to the little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. I have been given all things by my Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see but did not, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
It is ironical that the enemies of God instantly obey God’s word while the children of God refuse to obey God’s commandment and walk in His ways! Whereas snakes and scorpions refrain from exercising their naturally harmful behavior when ordered under Christ’s Name, God’s people, created in God’s own image and likeness, engage in sinful ways, dishonoring God’s Name! How is this possible?
It is possible because God has endowed us with free will. However, our free choices have consequences and we cannot run away from them. The saddest consequence will be the loss of our names from the scrolls of heaven. How greatly Jesus desires to share His power with us to defeat the Enemy, and so have the names of all his sisters and brothers written in heaven!
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