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To: All

From: Jeremiah 7:23-28

The People’s Obstinacy (Continuation)


(Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel,) [23] “But this command I gave
them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and
walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ [24] But
they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the
stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. [25] From
the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persis-
tently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; [26] yet they did
not listen to me, or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than
their fathers.

[27] “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you.
You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. [28] And you shall say to
them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and
did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.”

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Commentary:

7:21-8:3. Jeremiah called on the people to admit their sins and mend their ways,
but his preaching fell on deaf ears (7:21-28). This leads him to intone a lament
(v. 29), bemoaning the desolation that will be Judah (7:34). A day will come
when the bones of those who practised idolatry will be disinterred and exposed
to the elements that they worshipped in their lifetime. When that day comes,
people will prefer death to life (7:30-8:3).

Topheth (7:31), which in Hebrew means “place of burning”, was a “high place”,
that is, a slightly higher piece of ground used for idolatrous rites involving the
sacrifice of children in honor of Baal-Molech (cf. 2 Kings 23:10). It was in the
valley of Hinnom (also called “Gehenna”, according to a Greek transcription),
ravine to the south of Jerusalem which, much later on, and with an eye on pas-
sages in Jeremiah (cf. 19:1-15; 32:35), became synonymous with a place of
torment (cf. Is 66:24; Mt 5:22, 29-30; 18:9; Mk 9:43; etc.).

The prophet’s failure can be put down to the people’s hardheartedness, that is,
the insensitivity that prevents them from examining their consciences in a de-
sire to change where necessary and thus be able to hear the voice of God. Holy
Scripture calls this obstinacy “hardness of heart” or “stubbornness of heart” (7:
24; cf. Ps 81:12; Mk 3:5). It is a kind of inner resistance, an imperviousness to
the voice of conscience, but it can be traced back to free choices that people
have made. “In our own time this attitude of mind and heart is perhaps reflected
in the loss of the sense of sin, to which the Apostolic Exhortation “Reconciliatio
Et Paenitentia”, 18 devotes many pages. Pope Pius XII had already declared
that ‘the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin’ (”Radio Message”, 26
October 1946), and this loss goes hand in hand with the ‘loss of the sense of
God’. In the Exhortation just mentioned we read: ‘In fact, God is the origin and
the supreme end of man, and man carries in himself a divine seed. Hence it is
the reality of God that reveals and illustrates the mystery of man. It is therefore
vain to hope that there will take root a sense of sin against man and against hu-
man values, if there is no sense of offense against God, namely the true sense
of sin’ (no. 18) Hence the Church constantly implores from God the grace that
integrity of human consciences will not be lost, that their healthy sensitivity with
regard to good and evil will not be blunted” (Bl. John Paul II, “Dominum Et Vivifi-
cantem”, 47).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 03/14/2012 10:12:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 11:14-23

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan


[14] Now Jesus was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had
gone out, the man spoke, and the people marvelled. [15] But some of them said,
“He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons”; [16] while others,
to test Him, sought from Him a sign from Heaven. [17] But He, knowing their
thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and
house falls upon house. [18] And if Satan also is divided against himself, how
will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. [19]
And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out?
Therefore they shall be your judges. [20] But if it is by the finger of God that I
cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. [21] When a
strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; [22]
but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away
his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. [23] He who is not with Me
is against Me, and He who does not gather with Me scatters.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

14-23. Jesus’ enemies remain obstinate despite the evidence of the miracle.
Since they cannot deny that He has done something quite extraordinary, they
attribute it to the power of the devil, rather than admit that Jesus is the Messiah.
Our Lord answers them with a clinching argument: the fact that He expels de-
mons is proof that He has brought the Kingdom of God. The Second Vatican
Council reminds us of this truth: “The Lord Jesus inaugurated His Church by
preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, promised
over the ages in the Scriptures [...]. The miracles of Jesus also demonstrate that
the Kingdom has already come on earth: ‘If it is by the finger of God that I cast
out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you’ (Luke 11:20; cf.
Matthew 12:28). But principally the Kingdom of God is revealed in the person
of Christ Himself, Son of God and Son of Man, who came ‘to serve and to give
His life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 5).

The strong man well armed is the devil, who has enslaved man; but Jesus Christ,
one stronger than he, has come and conquered him and is despoiling him. St.
Paul will say that Christ “disarmed the principalities and powers and made a
public example of them, triumphing over them” (Colossians 2:15).

After the victory of Christ, the “stronger one”, the words of verse 23 are addres-
sed to mankind at large; even if people do not want to recognize it, Jesus Christ
has conquered and from now on no one can adopt an attitude of neutrality to-
wards Him: he who is not with Him is against Him.

18. Christ’s argument is very clear. One of the worst evils that can overtake the
Church is disunity among Christians, disunity among believers. We must make
Jesus’ prayer our own: “That they may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me,
and I in Thee, that also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that
Thou has sent Me” (John 17:21).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 03/14/2012 10:15:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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