June 22, 2022
by David Crawford
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 373

2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3
Psalm 119:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40
Matthew 7:15-20

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

What If I Have Trouble Getting Better?

Josiah (who became King of Judah at the age of eight) was a man who “did what was right in the Lord’s sight” (I Kings 22:2).  From 2 Chronicles 34, we learn that Josiah waged a campaign against idolatrous places and practices in an attempt to purify Judah and Jerusalem.  In our first reading, set in the 18th year of Josiah’s 31-year reign, the king has ordered the restoration of the temple, which leads to the discovery of a lost/ignored book of God’s law.  Upon hearing it read, Josiah realized how far the people of Judah had strayed from God, and he immediately decided to lead his subjects in a new direction.  With that decision made, his first action was to direct the High Priest Hilkiah to seek God’s guidance: “Go, consult the Lord for me, for the people, for all Judah.”  In verses not in today’s liturgy, God spoke through the prophet Huldah, a woman living in Jerusalem’s New Quarter, to give Hilkiah a message for the king: Because Josiah’s “heart was responsive” and he had “humbled” himself “before the Lord” (2 Kings 22:19, NIV), God’s punishment against Judah would not be enacted until after Josiah’s passing.

Today’s Gospel reading warns against being tempted by false prophets whose values and teachings run counter to that of Christ.  These wolves in sheep’s clothing say the right words, but they mean them in ways inconsistent with the greatest commandments (to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself) or with the “new” commandment Jesus gave (to love one another as Jesus has loved us).  To distinguish the false and true prophets, Jesus tells us to look at their “fruits,” which leads me to Galatians 5 for a list of bad fruits

“immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like” (verses 19-21)

contrasted with the good

“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (verses 22-23).

Even knowing the definitions, we – the righteous and unrighteous – still are in danger of being misled by temptations:

  • to prioritize jobs, finances, personal comfort, recreation, family, or any number of things in ways that distract us from loving God;
  • to view resources which God has given us – time, money, homes, etc. – as “ours”, and as a result we fail to care for others;
  • to align ourselves in factions based on nationality, race, ethnicity, ideology, fan-based rivalries, and more, instead of loving one another as children of God;
  • to judge others without acknowledging our own anger, selfishness, envy, pride and other sinful behaviors, thus ignoring Christ’s directive to first take the beams out of our own eyes (Matthew 7:5); or
  • to determine we can handle things on our own without turning to God, without listening to the Word, without following Christ’s example, without responding to the Spirit’s prompting.

Josiah, the righteous King of Judah, provides a model for us to emulate.  Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, make our hearts responsive, and seek God’s guidance in all we do. 

Pray with me the words from today’s Psalm:  Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.  Instruct me, O Lord, in the way of your statues, that I may exactly observe them.  Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.  Lead me in the path of your commands, for in it I delight.  Incline my heart to your decrees and not to gain.  Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain: by your way give me life.  Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life.  Amen.

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David Crawford <decarchivist@gmail.com>

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