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Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about freedom and sometimes we think that having boundaries will limit our freedom. There is a difference between a license (getting to do whatever we want) and freedom (the power of doing what we ought to do). Interior freedom allows us to love and worship in the way God calls us. If we do not love as we should, this is because we do not have interior freedom.

Ezekiel warns the people against making an alliance with Egypt. God is using the pagan nations, like Babylon, to correct his people. The Lord uses flawed and perhaps evil people to bring about his plan of salvation. During the days of King Josiah, some exchanged Temple worship of God for idolatry. These were places where idol worship and ritual immorality were practiced.

Jeremiah accuses the people of teaching others to sin through a scandal – leading others to sin by one’s sinful example. The effect of. our sins are not confined to us. Our sins not only affect us but also those around us.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 3

1 ‘If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and becomes someone else’s, has he the right to go back to her? Has not that piece of land been totally polluted? And you, having played the whore with many lovers, you claim the right to come back to me! Yahweh demands.

2 ‘Lift your eyes to the bare heights and look! Where have you not offered your sex! You waited by the roadside for them like an Arab in the desert. You have polluted the country with your prostitution and your vices:

3 this is why the showers have been withheld, the late rains have not come. ‘But you maintained a prostitute’s bold front, with no trace of a blush.

4 From now on, do not cry out at me, “My father! My beloved ever since I was young!

5 Will he keep up his anger for ever, maintain his wrath to the end?” You say this but still go on sinning, being so obstinate.’

6 In the days of King Josiah, Yahweh said to me, ‘Have you seen what disloyal Israel has done? How she has made her way up every high hill and to every green tree, and played the whore there?

7 I thought, “After doing all this she will come back to me.” But she did not come back. Her faithless sister Judah saw this.

8 She also saw that I had repudiated disloyal Israel for all her adulteries and given her her divorce papers. Her faithless sister Judah, however, was not afraid: she too went and played the whore.

9 And with her shameless whoring, she polluted the country; she committed adultery with stones and pieces of wood.

10 Worse than all this: Judah, her faithless sister, has come back to me not in sincerity, but only in pretence, Yahweh declares.’

11 And Yahweh said to me, ‘Disloyal Israel is upright, compared with faithless Judah.

12 So go and shout words towards the north, and say: “Come back, disloyal Israel, Yahweh declares, I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful, Yahweh declares. I shall not keep my anger for ever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt: how you have rebelled against Yahweh your God, how you have prostituted yourself with the Strangers under every green tree and have not listened to my voice, Yahweh declares.

14 “Come back, disloyal children, Yahweh declares, for I alone am your Master, and I will take you, one from a town, two from a family, and bring you to Zion.

15 I shall give you shepherds after my own heart, who will pasture you wisely and discreetly.

16 Then, when you have increased and grown numerous in the country, Yahweh declares, no one will ever again say: The ark of the covenant of Yahweh! It will not enter their minds, they will not remember it or miss it, nor will another one be made.

17 When that time comes, Jerusalem will be called: The Throne of Yahweh, and all the nations will converge on her, on Yahweh’s name, on Jerusalem, and will no longer follow their own stubborn and wicked inclinations.

18 “When those days come, the House of Judah will join the House of Israel; together they will come from the land of the north to the country I gave your ancestors as their heritage.”

19 ‘And I was thinking: How am I to rank you as my children? I shall give you a country of delights, the fairest heritage of all the nations! I thought: You will call me Father and will never cease to follow me.

20 But like a woman betraying her lover, House of Israel, you have betrayed me,’ Yahweh declares.

21 A noise is heard on the bare heights: the weeping and entreaty of the Israelites, for they have gone wildly astray, have forgotten Yahweh their God.

22 ‘Come back, disloyal sons, I want to cure your disloyalty.’ ‘We are here, we are coming to you, for you are Yahweh our God.

23 The hills are a delusion after all, so is the tumult of the mountains. Yahweh our God is, after all, the saving of Israel.

24 Shame has devoured what our ancestors worked for ever since we were young, their flocks and herds, their sons and their daughters.

25 Let us lie down in our shame, let our confusion cover us, for we have sinned against Yahweh our God, we and our ancestors, from our youth until today, and have not listened to the voice of Yahweh our God.’

Ezekiel 29

1 In the tenth year, on the twelfth day of the tenth month, the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

2 ‘Son of man, turn towards Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against the whole of Egypt.

3 Speak and say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt- the great crocodile wallowing in his Niles who thought: My Nile is mine, I made it.

4 I shall put hooks through your jaws, make your Nile fish stick to your scales, and pull you out of your Niles with all your Nile fish sticking to your scales.

5 I shall drop you in the desert, with all your Nile fish. You will fall in the wilds and not be taken up or buried. I shall give you as food to the wild animals and the birds of heaven,

6 and all the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am Yahweh, for they have given no more support than a reed to the House of Israel.

7 Wherever they grasped you, you broke in their hands and cut their hands all over. Whenever they leaned on you, you broke, making all their limbs give way.

8 “So, the Lord Yahweh says this: I shall send the sword against you to denude you of human and animal.

9 Egypt will become a desolate waste, and they will know that I am Yahweh. Because he thought: The Nile is mine, I made it,

10 very well, I am against you and your Niles. I shall make Egypt a waste and a desolation, from Migdol to Syene and beyond to the frontiers of Ethiopia.

11 No human foot will pass through it, no animal foot will pass through it. For forty years it will remain uninhabited.

12 I shall make Egypt the most desolate of countries; for forty years its cities will be the most desolate of wasted cities. And I shall scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the countries.

13 The Lord Yahweh, however, says this: After forty years have passed, I shall gather the Egyptians back from the nations where they were dispersed.

14 I shall bring the Egyptian captives back and re-install them in the land of Pathros, in the country of their origin. There they willconstitute a modest kingdom.

15 Egypt will be the most modest of kingdoms and no longer dominate other nations; for I shall reduce it, so that it will not rule other nations ever again.

16 It will no longer be anything for the House of Israel to trust in, but will be a reminder of the guilt which lay in turning to it for help. And they will know that I am Lord Yahweh.” ‘

17 In the twenty-seventh year, on the first day of the first month, the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows:

18 ‘Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken his army in a great expedition against Tyre. Their heads have all gone bald, their shoulders are all chafed, but even so he has derived no profit, either for himself or for his army, from the expedition mounted against Tyre.

19 Since this is so, the Lord Yahweh says this, “Look, I shall hand Egypt over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He will carry off its riches, loot it, put it to the sack; that will be the wages for his army.

20 As wages for the trouble he has taken, I am giving him Egypt instead (for they have been working for me)-declares the Lord Yahweh.

21 “That day, I shall raise up a new stock for the House of Israel and allow you to open your mouth among them. And they will know that I am Yahweh.” ‘

Ezekiel 30

1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

2 ‘Son of man, prophesy and say, “The Lord Yahweh says this: Howl: Disaster day!

3 For the day is near, the day of Yahweh is near; it will be a day dark with cloud, a time of doom for the nations.

4 “The sword will come on Egypt, and anguish on the country of Cush when the slaughtered fall in Egypt, when her riches are carried away and her foundations are destroyed.

5 Cush, Put and Lud, all Arabia, Cub and the children of the country of the covenant will fall by the sword with them.

6 “Yahweh says this: “The supports of Egypt will fall; the pride of her strength will crumble; they will fall by the sword from Migdol to Syene — declares the Lord Yahweh.

7 “They will be the most desolate of desolate countries, and its cities the most ruined of cities.

8 And they will know that I am Yahweh when I set fire to Egypt and all its supports are shattered.

9 “That day, I shall send messengers by ship to terrify the carefree Cushites, and anguish will overtake them on the day of Egypt — it is coming now!

10 The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall destroy the huge population of Egypt at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.

11 He and his people, the most barbarous of nations, will be brought to ravage the country. They will draw the sword against Egypt and fill the country with corpses.

12 I shall dry up the courses of the Nile and sell the country to the wicked. I shall lay the whole country waste and everything in it, at the hand of foreigners. I, Yahweh, have spoken.

13 “The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall destroy the foul idols and take the false gods away from Noph. Egypt will be left without a ruler. I shall spread fear through Egypt.

14 I shall lay Pathros waste, set Zoan on fire, inflict my punishments on No.

15 I shall vent my fury on Sin, the bastion of Egypt; I shall wipe out the throngs of No.

16 I shall set fire to Egypt; Sin will be seized with convulsions; a breach will be opened at No and the waters flood out.

17 The young men of On and Pi-Beseth will fall by the sword and the cities themselves go into captivity.

18 At Tahpanhes day will turn to darkness when I shatter the sceptres of Egypt there, when the pride of her strength ceases. A cloud willcover Egypt itself, and its daughters will go into captivity.

19 Such will be the punishments I inflict on Egypt. And they will know that I am Yahweh.” ‘

20 In the eleventh year, on the seventh day of the first month, the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

21 ‘Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; you can see that no one has dressed his wound by applying remedies to it, by bandaging it and by dressing it, to make it strong enough to wield the sword.

22 This being so, the Lord Yahweh says this, “Look, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt; I shall break his arms, the sound one and the broken one, and make the sword drop from his hand.

23 I shall scatter Egypt among the nations and disperse it among the countries.

24 I shall strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand. I shall break Pharaoh’s arms and, confronted with his enemy, he will groan like a dying man.

25 I shall strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh will fall. And they will know that I am Yahweh, when I put my sword into the hands of the king of Babylon and he wields it against Egypt.

26 I shall scatter Egypt among the nations and disperse it among the countries; and they will know that I am Yahweh.” ‘

Proverbs 14:13-16

13 Even in laughter the heart finds sadness, and joy makes way for sorrow.

14 The miscreant will reap the reward of his conduct, and the good the reward of his deeds.

15 The simpleton believes any message, a person of discretion treads a careful path.

16 The wise fears evil and avoids it, the fool is insolent and conceited.

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