12th Week, Friday, Jun 26th

2 Kings 25: 1-12 / Matthew 8: 1-4 
Babylon strikes Judah again: The city and the Temple were destroyed.

Judah’s “day of reckoning” dawned in 587 B.C. That date is branded forever on the heart of every Jew. It marks the year when Babylonian armies descended upon Jerusalem and reduced the city and the Temple to a pile of charred rubble. The people who survived the devastating defeat were led off to captivity in Babylon. There they joined many relatives and friends who had been taken captive ten years before.
 The great philosopher Santayana said that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. What does God want us to learn from the defeat of Judah and the destruction of the city and the Temple? “How lonely lies Jerusalem. . . .Her children have been captured and taken away. The splendor of Jerusalem is a thing of the past Lamentations 1:1, 5-6
The year 587BC is seared into the minds of the Biblical Jews whenever they recall their nation's history. That was the year of the Babylonian invasion that resulted in the Exile in Babylon of the Jewish nation. On top of that, the magnificent Temple that was built by king Solomon, that Temple which was the pride and glory of the nation was utterly demolished, along with the city of Jerusalem. Stripped of all dignity and status, with no country or land to call their own, and being slaves in the land of their conquerors, the Jewish people began thinking and reflecting. Why did such disaster and humiliation come upon them? Why didn't God protect them or come to their help? Upon deeper reflection, they came to realize that in the first place, they had sinned and turned away from the Lord. This was despite repeated attempts by the prophets to call the nation to repentance and to turn back to the Lord. Hence it can be said that the one good thing that came out of the Babylonian Exile was that the people turned back to God in repentance and asking for forgiveness. The history of the Jewish nation serves as a lesson for us especially when we become complacent and begin to take God for granted.
Yet the history of the Jewish nation also affirms the fact that God answers whenever we call to Him, especially in repentance and asking for forgiveness and healing.

It is like what the leper said in today's gospel: Sir, if you want to, you can cure me. And the reply of Jesus was : Of course I want to! Be cured!
Friday June 26

Friday of 12th Week of Ordinary Time


Punishment comes to the Jewish people for their persistent infidelity. Jerusalem is destroyed with its temple and the people sent into exile.
Immediately after the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew gives us a series of miracles of Jesus, the first of which is narrated in today’s gospel, the cure of the leper. Jesus had spoken with power, now he acts with power; Jesus had spoken of the law of love, now he himself puts it into practice in an act of compassionate help to an outcast. Note that in the Bible leprosy is closely linked to sin and like a physical sign of sin. Let us honor our Lord in his compassion and forgiveness.

Opening Prayer
Lord God, our Father,
your Son Jesus Christ revealed to us
your compassionate, healing love.
Let his presence here in our midst
fill us with his power of sharing
in the miseries of our neighbor.
Let our words be like balm
on open wounds in their hearts
and let our deeds bring healing
to all those around us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Only the poor were left behind in a torched and ravaged Jerusalem. The Babylonians had leveled the city, and the temple was destroyed. The Judean king’s son was murdered and the king himself was hauled off to Babylon, a captive.
Who were the poor of God who become such a privileged people in the scriptures? Originally it was a social category: the poor people of the land, with precious little of this world’s goods. Materially they may have suffered, but they were in the best position to be responsive to God. God alone was their true provider, and the recognition of this was at the heart of biblical spirituality.
As time went on, it was the spiritual qualities of the true anawim or “poor of God” that were emphasized. The anawim lived with a true sense of dependence on God, one that went beyond social status and looked to basic dispositions of the heart. It could apply to anyone in society, although there was always the recognition that die socially deprived were in an ideal position to have the spirit of the anawim.
It is this spirit that characterizes the leper in today’s Gospel. He knows what Christ is capable of but prefaces his request with trust in the willingness of the Lord. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Points to Ponder
The spiritual qualities of the poor
Poverty as openness to God
Poverty in religious life.

– With all who seek pardon and reconciliation, we cry out to you, Lord, and with all who have found and grant forgiveness, we thank you, Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.
– With all who are rejected by their communities, we cry out to you, Lord, and with all who accept people and restore their dignity, we praise you, Lord:
– With al who hide their suffering, we cry out to you, Lord, and with all who share with others and uplift them, we praise you, Lord:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
you are good to us.
With these gifts of bread and wine
we offer you the sacrifice of Jesus
that brought us your forgiveness.
Reconcile us with you and each other
and keep cleansing us from the leprosy
of pride and hard-heartedness
that mar in us the face
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
your Son Jesus has spoken among us
his words and deeds of healing.
He has answered our plea
for forgiveness and fresh hope in life
with the gift of himself.
Make us too capable
of stretching out our hands
to those in sorrows and pain
and of touching them with our love.
And may our compassionate help
reach out most of all
to the outcasts of this cold world.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

When we have sinned, we too should go to God and tell him: Lord, you can clean me, and he is very willing to do so, for he loves us and heals us repeatedly. May we also bring healing to the people around us, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.