Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture for June 19th. Lectionary # 370: II Chronicles 24:17-25. Psalm
89:4-5,29-30,31-32,33-34. Matthew 6:24-34:
We continue reading the Sermon on the Mount for our Gospel. The only
thing in common with the first readings seems to be that Chronicles has
the style of a sermon but seen from the perspective of those who favor
Judah’s kings over those of the North–Israel’s kings. The learned
scribes and the powerful priests write the history of the Book of
Chronicles with their own biased presentation. God alone writes
straight with our crooked lines–even in the Bible. We do see the
moralizing that is going on but within the context is the gift of God’s
forgiveness. It is unfortunate that Israel’s kings were corrupted by
power and by their looking at other gods who really were nothing but
idols that had no power much less providential interest in a people.
King Joash fails the Lord and is corrupted by his power. He has
Zechariah stoned to death in the Temple court. Incidentally, a later
important apocrypha of the New Testament called the Protevangelium
Jacobi mistakes this incident and applies it to the priest who is the
husband of Elizabeth. He has Zechariah killed within the sanctuary where
his blood turns to stone. I and II Chronicles fills in some of the
gaps that are missing in the Book of Kings. Here we acquire information
about Joash and his death which was a result of his not listening to the
teachings of Jehoiada and his son Zechariah.
Psalm 89 is another royal messianic psalm which is often helpful as a
religious context for the kings mentioned in the more historical books
of the Bible. This Psalm 89 shows us God’s persistent fidelity in the
covenantal promises made to the kings and leaders. It contrasts with
the behavior of many of these kings who did not remain faithful to the
covenant. God’s fidelity and providence are often found in such psalms
and they help us to balance some of the texts of terror that we have
been reading these days in the first reading. If the king fails he will
be punished but the davidic dynasty will never come to an end because
God is faithful and steadfast and merciful.
In continuing his sermon, Jesus now turns to imagery that captures the
imagination and helps us to understand the providential care of each one
of us. In all of the circumstances of our life, Jesus is somehow there.
He advises us to do away with anxiety and worry–those nagging and
debilitating tendencies we all experience. We are to leave them aside
and listen to Jesus’ soothing and colorful message. Amen.