AD SENSE

12th Week, Tuesday, Jun 23rd


2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36 / Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Hezekiah prays: God heard his prayer.

Edward Roe was a 19th-century novelist. Many can’t remember a single book he wrote, but many do remember a passage on prayer than he penned. It reads: “To a certain extent, God gives the prayerful control of himself, and becomes their willing agent; and when all the mysteries are solved, and the record of all lives is truthfully revealed, it will probably be seen that not those who astonished the world with their powers but those who quietly, through prayer, used God’s power will be the ones who made the world move forward.” Such a man was Hezekiah in today’s reading. His prayer, not his armies, saved Judah from disaster.

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How convinced are we that God responds to our prayers? “Pray unto him in any way you like. He is sure to hear you, for he can hear the footfall of an ant.” Ramakrishna
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Power and might can be best described in terms of armaments and military capabilities. In fact, the best way to flaunt power and might is to use military force for invasion or oppression.
In the 1st reading, when king Sennacherib of Assyria threatened king Hezekiah of Judah, it was like the sword already on the throat.
And king Hezekiah had every reason to fear because he was the main target and if the Assyrians get their hands on him, they would skin and mince him alive. Yet king Hezekiah gave us a lesson about faith and trust in God. In the face of mortal danger, he turned to God in prayer and placed all his hope in God. And indeed, God will cast down the mighty and proud who use their military might to insult the humble and the lowly. Furthermore, king Sennacherib insulted God and he can be considered lucky to be able to go home alive.

In life, we may not face blood-thirsty soldiers going for our throats, but certainly we will come across slippery and slimy people who will scheme to make us trip and then stab our backs. Let us be calm but vigilant because the evil one will tempt us to throw away our faith to the dogs and pigs. Let us stand up to evil with a strong faith and to stay close to God in prayer.

In this world that has many dangerous nooks and corners, God is our only Saviour and guide.
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Tuesday June 23

Tuesday of 12th Week of Ordinary Time

THE TWO WAYS

Introduction

Hezekiah and Jeremiah opted for faith in God against all odds.
The moralizing theme of the two ways, familiar to Jewish thought and also to Christian thinking from the early Church to the present – for example, Ignatian spirituality – underlies the readings today. Jesus says that there is an easy and spacious road that leads to perdition and a narrow, arduous road leading to life. Today’s wealthy countries have created themselves a life of comfort that is on the way of becoming self-destructive of nature, resources, and humankind itself. Would greater restraint not allow everyone on earth to live a life worthy of people, of the sons and daughters of God? Which way is ours?

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
you ask us through your Son Jesus Christ:
which road do you want to take:
the one that is undemanding and effortless,
or the road and the gate
that are narrow and difficult
and full of obstacles?
Lord, whatever road or gate it is,
let it be that of your Son,
for he is our Lord for ever.

 Commentary
Today’s reading from Kings is illustrative of the gospel’s teaching. It is important to enter by the narrow gate, since the wide gate is the one that leads to devastation and destruction. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, was set on the destruction of Jerusalem and its environs, but, by the power of God, 185,000 troops of Assyria were destroyed and Assyria was forced to retreat.
The great irony of religious history is that things do not always work as expected. The size of the invading force did not outweigh the designs of God. And all too often it was human designs our forces opposed to Christianity that failed while Christianity survived. In our own times, we have seen religious men and women who refuse to bear arms or prepare for war for reasons of conscience.
Pope Paul VI pleaded in the United Nations, “War, war— never again.” One hopes that we have set upon a new course where mutual antagonism will be offset by diplomacy and negotiation. Many of the most diffident nations would choose to find peaceful solutions to solve conflicts.
Rather than engage in warfare, Francis of Assisi went to the Muslim world to engage the sultan in dialogue. We live by the Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers....”

Points to Ponder
Military solutions: right or wrong?
Entering by the narrow gate
The possibility of a just war.

Intercessions
– That we may not become demanding on others but ask the Lord to make us generous and mild in the way we want others to treat us, we pray:
– That we may never seek an easy way out through lies or passivity when life and the good of our neighbor demand sacrifices, we pray:
– That we may not tolerate people to be exploited or discriminated against, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus chose the way
of humility and poverty
and he still appears among us today
in the everyday sign of a piece of bread.
Give to us and to your Church, we pray you,
the mentality of Jesus Christ,
that we may not try to impress the world
with power and prestige
but change it from within
with a poverty of means
and the simple gift of humble service.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God, Lord of life,
you respect our freedom
of choosing between two ways:
the easy road of self-will
that leads to nowhere
and the stony path of your will.
Let your Son stay with us
and walk by our side
on the only road that leads to life,
the road where your will is our will
and your happiness is ours
now and for ever.

Blessing
“The gate is narrow and the road that leads to life is hard.” Yes, sometimes the road of the Lord does not look straight and we don’t know well where it is leading. But our faith tells us to entrust ourselves to Christ. May almighty God lead and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.