Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 371. II Kings 17:5-8,13-15, 18. Psalm 60:3,4-5,
12-13. Matthew 7:1-5.
Hoshea the King of Israel has the same name in Hebrew as Hosea the prophet.
Both are from the Northern Kingdom Israel and both will be the last in that
kingdom in their respective roles. It is a sad and terrible time for
Israel; only Judah will continue to have a King down to the time of the
Exile in Babylon. The years of Hoshea as king are 732-722 B.C. and we are
in his ninth year; his reign will end with the approach of his tenth year
The Northern Kingdom falls in 721 B.C. under Shalmaneser, the Assyrian
King. The downfall of Israel may be traced to the sins of following other
gods, breaking of the covenant with the God of Israel, and the retribution
due to God and the people who were faithful to the covenant. Salmaneser
will carry away the king and disperse the ten tribes of the Northern
Kingdom among the varied peoples under Assyrian power. Judah alone will
remain with a king and this will last till 586 with Zedekiah being the last
king of Judah-- the royal line of David.
Jesus now turns his sermon to the sin of rash judging others. We are
warned by his words not to pass judgment. We often do and usually what we
are judging should be turned to ourselves and our own faults. We often have
the "larger beam" in our own eye while the "speck" is what our victim of
judgment has in his or her eye. Some Jewish people follow a good custom of
never speaking negatively about another person unless they are present.
This practice would stop about half of the sins of rash judgment.
Psalm 60 is a public lamentation and is perfect for God's exacting
retribution because of the crimes and sins of the Northern Kingdom and
their King Hoshea. The Psalm is filled with military symbolism and language
and historically could go back to the time of King Hoshea. Weiser comments
on this Psalm: "The actual affliction about which they here complain is the
spiritual affliction of a nation who knows itself to be rejected by God in
his anger and yet are neither able nor willing to let him go. However, the
fact that this shock to their faith does not lead them to doubt about God
or to rebellion against him, but is expressed in prayer to him, shows how
deeply that faith in God is and how serious the people's attitude to God as
they pray. It is only when spiritual affliction reaches these utmost
depths that it is capable of becoming the only means of overcoming every
adversity." (Psalms, Weiser, p.439). Amen.
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