2 Kings 24:8-17
Matthew 7:21-29


Today’s reading from the Second Book of Kings recounts the tragic events of the siege and despoliation of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, during the reign of Jehoiachin, King of Judah.  The Babylonians appointed a new king, who came to be called Zedekiah, but, not long after, he rebelled against the Babylonians, who laid siege to Jerusalem again, and this time captured it and destroyed the temple and other key buildings in 586 BC.  These events remind us that the people of Judah suffered the destruction, massacres and mass deportations that have been inflicted upon many nations in our own time.  Psalm 79  is a plea to the Lord to deliver us ‘for the glory of your name’: in the midst of such terrible events, the faithful reach out to the Lord in prayer, hoping that ‘his compassion may quickly come to us, for we are brought very low’.  In the midst of the sufferings imposed by violence and the abuse of power, we pray with faith and trust in God’s compassion.  The reading from John 14 reminds us that the true sign of our love for God is to keep his word, to be faithful.  The Gospel reading from Matthew 7 repeats this with emphasis: spectacular feats of apparent religiosity do not necessarily demonstrate fidelity to God’s word, but rather following the law of love of God and neighbour, which is a rock on which we can base our lives. 

Robert Gascoigne is a parishioner at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.  He is a theologian who taught for many years at the Australian Catholic University.