12th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 2Kngs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah with this message: “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all other countries: they doomed them! Will you, then, be saved?’” Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the temple of the LORD, and spreading it out before him, he prayed in the LORD’s presence: “O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire; they destroyed them because they were not gods, but the work of human hands, wood and stone. Therefore, O LORD, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.” Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him: “‘She despises you, laughs you to scorn, the virgin daughter Zion! Behind you she wags her head, daughter Jerusalem.” ‘For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant, and from Mount Zion, survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.’ “Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it, nor come before it with a shield, nor cast up siege-works against it. He shall return by the same way he came, without entering the city, says the LORD. I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.’” That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh.
Gospel: Mt 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
THE GOLDEN RULE: Most religious traditions have a ‘Golden Rule’. Today, there is a group of elders and scholars in the world who propose as the criterion for a global ethics. It can be stated in the positive: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you,” or it can be stated in the negative: “Don’t do unto others what you would not want done to you.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus includes this aphorism. However, the unique contribution of Jesus to this is that he adds: “This is the Law and the Prophets.” That is, Jesus claims that the entire Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) could be summarized in the Golden Rule. Though this is not the Christian ideal (which is to be found in John 13:34), it is a good human level to start with in being considerate to other people.
Prayer. Lord, teach me your ways that I may follow you.