Jerusalem is Destroyed

Friday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time (June 26)

Readings: 2 Kings 25:1-12 -- Psalm 137 -- Matthew 8:1-4

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"By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion, on the aspens of that land we hung up our harps," sings the psalm of the day.

Grim events are recounted -- a siege lasting a year and a half, famine in the city, the cowardly flight of King Zedekiah and his soldiers, the fall of Jerusalem, many deaths, the destruction of Solomon's Temple, the palace, and all of the walls and city of Jerusalem. Everybody except for a few poor people were taken in captivity to exile in Babylon.

Thus ended the independent existence of the Kingdom of Judah, in fire and destruction and death, an appropriate reading for this day of fasting, prayer, penance, and reparation.

Today's Gospel recounts Jesus' healing of a leper, a story which reminds us of Jesus' concern for the poor and rejected, those marginalized by society. At an hour of great triumph, the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount, while great crowds followed him, he took the time to stop and attend to the needs of a leper, one who was typically an object of fear and loathing.

Let us take the time to carefully consider, and learn, the lessons of today's readings.

"How could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?"

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