Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD’s people; and another covenant, between the king and the people.

Today’s grisly story from Second Book of Kings reminds us that the Bible is not about the way things should be; it’s about the way things are. Jehodiah and Athaliah are playing hardball politics and the stakes are Salvation History on the one hand; death, on the other.
Jehodiah was a priest of the temple, dedicated to "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", the ancient Hebrew God whose name may not be spoken. Recalling God's solemn oath, he was loyal to the House of David. 

Athaliah represented the pagan factions that always lived in Jerusalem. Attaining power, she ordered the killing of the entire line of David, missing only the infant baby Joash.  To maintain the prophecy which would be fulfilled in Jesus, she had to be stopped. Because she had antagonized so many people, both natives and foreigners, when the moment came , Jehodiah organized a coup and she was summarily executed, her schemes aborted.  

Our author tells us that the priest Jehoiada then established two covenants. The first was the simple restoration of the ancient Davidic covenant between God and his people. The House of David would survive! The second was between the Davidic king Joash and the people; they would remain loyal to God's Anointed. 

We can see this six-year-old boy as a type of Christ. The violence around Joash's ascendence to the throne anticipates the violence of Herod's attempt to kill the "newborn king of the Jews;" and, thirty years later, Jesus' crucifixion.

Jehodiah's covenants anticipate the New Covenant, marked by Baptism, Eucharist and our sacramental way of life.   

The two covenants, divine and human, meet in Jesus. He is the Covenant Incarnate who gathers us to himself in the Holy Spirit, and in the same Holy Spirit offers himself to the Father. 

The recommended collect for today, from the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, invites us to consider our "Firm Foundation" who guides, protects and endows his people through even savagely difficult hours.   

O God, protector of those who hope in you,
Without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
Bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
And grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
We may use the good things that pass
In such a way as to hold fast even now
To those that ever endure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.