Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 373. II Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3. Psalm
119:18.104.22.168.37.40 Matthew 7:15-20.
Josiah is another good King of Judah in the davidic lineage. We are
reading an historical account of a great discovery that leads the King
Josiah to renew the covenant and to rid the kingdom of all false gods and
rituals of prostitution and child sacrifices. His reforms are of
historical significance for the development of the faith of the Israelites
in the one true God.
Any discovery of a scroll is significant because of its helping us to
understand the social, political, and religious background of its time.
Just think of the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and then the Nag
Hammadi texts found in the caves of upper Egypt. We are aware of how their
appearance also spawns many new legends and stories that are far from what
the texts really say. Fortunately, scholarship gets us the historical
foundations and value of the texts through careful research. The discovery
of the scroll by Hilkiah in the temple and handed to the King through the
scribe Shaphan is the Book of Deuteronomy. Probably the text that was open
to the King’s eyes was Deuteronomy 31:24-26. “And it came to pass when
Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book, until they were
finished. That Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the
covenant of the Lord saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the
side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there
as a witness against thee.” Josiah is so moved by the discovery and the
text before him that he calls for all the leaders, the scribes, the levites
and the people to come to the temple and to repent and renew the covenant
of Moses. Josiah is relatively young at this time, perhaps, twenty-six
years of age. His reign was between 640-609 B.C.
Psalm 119, the longest Psalm in the Bible is about the laws, stipulations,
and ordinances of God that are primarily seen in the Book of Deuteronomy,
hence, it is used as our liturgical response today. Its verses could be
prayed in the spirit of Josiah. They fit the discovery and his call to true
worship of God.
Jesus gives us his covenant with us through the sermon on the Mount. The
teaching for today from Our Lord is about true judgment on our part or
discernment. We need to separate ourselves from false prophets and
doomsday preachers. The Holy Spirit helps us in this discernment and we
are led to trust in the words of Jesus and his disciples. We can take the
teaching as a way of becoming trustworthy and honest in our words and our
Thus both readings are concerned with God’s teaching (torah, law, sermon)
about the covenant. In many passages Deuteronomy matches the Sermon on the
Mount and is the jewel of the Torah. Amen.