Scripture readings

Focus on Scripture Friday (vol. 1)

In order to increase my devotion at Mass (and because with eight kids, who can guarantee one’s focus?), I’m posting the Sunday readings on Fridays.  Feel free to discuss in the comments, or just meditate on your own.

First Reading

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(2 Chronicles) 2 Paralipomenon 36:14-16

14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people wickedly transgressed according to all the abominations of the Gentiles: and they defiled the house of the Lord, which he had sanctified to himself in Jerusalem.
15 And the Lord the God of their fathers sent to them, by the hand of his messengers, rising early, and daily admonishing them: because he spared his people and his dwelling place. Early. Prot. “betimes, and sending: because,” &c. H. — Like a good master, God (T.) sent his servants to work at day-break, (H.) omitting nothing to induce them to return to him, that he might not be forced to punish them with severity. C.
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused the prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, and there was no remedy. Remedy. All attempts to convert them proved in vain; (T.) and God, perceiving that they even despised his calls, became inexorable. C.

(2 Chronicles) 2 Paralipomenon 36:19-23

19 And the enemies set fire to the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burnt all the towers, and whatsoever was precious they destroyed.
20 Whosoever escaped the sword, was led into Babylon, and there served the king and his sons till the reign of the king of Persia. Sons; Evilmerodac and Baltassar. — Persia; Cyrus, who subdued the country.
21 That the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremias might be fulfilled, and the land might keep her sabbaths: for all the days of the desolation she kept a sabbath, till the seventy years were expired. Sabbaths, every seventh year. Lev. xxv. 2. and xxvi. 43. Jer. xxv. 11. and xxix. 10. — Expired: not that the earth was quite neglected, all that time, from the third year of Joakim, A.M. 3398 till 3468. C. — But it was almost: particularly after the murder of Godolias, (M.) the public worship was at a stand, &c. H. — During this fifth age, the true religion subsisted invariable, not only in the kingdom of Juda, but also in that of Israel. See Worthington. H.
22 But in the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, to fulfill the word of the Lord, which he had spoken by the mouth of Jeremias, the Lord stirred up the heart of Cyrus king of the Persians who commanded it to be proclaimed through all his kingdom, and by writing also, saying: First. Cyrus had ruled over Persia from A. 3444. He was now emperor of the east. A. 3468. C. — These two verses are repeated by Esdras, which evinces that he was the author of this work also, (T.) adding them when he restored (W.) or revised (H.) the holy scriptures. W.
23 Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians: All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord the God of heaven given to me, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea: who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up. The Lord, ( Jehova. ) In Esdras we find yehi, “Let,” his God. H. —Up. The sentence is completed in the following book, which makes it probable that these verses are here inserted improperly, by some transcriber. The book of Chronicles, though for many ages the last in the Heb. MSS. was, perhaps, once followed by Ezra, as in Camb. MS. 1. (Kennicott) and as it is now in the Protestant version, taken from the Heb. H.

Second Reading

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Ephesians 2:4-10

4 But God, (who is rich in mercy,) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, But God . . . hath raised us up together, both Gentiles and Jews, to life in Christ, remitting our sins by faith in him, and by the grace of our merciful Redeemer, by his pure mercy, not by any works of ours, nor merely by the works of the former law. — Hath made us in a condition to sit together in heavenly places, to be hereafter crowned in heaven. Wi.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,) Quickened us together in Christ. Faith, baptism, and grace, are pledges of our future resurrection and glorification in heaven. Our present conversion is also a kind of resurrection. The time is come, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live. S. Aug. upon S. John, No. 7.
6 And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.
7 That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; Faith is the beginning, foundation, and root of justification, and the first of all other virtues, without which it is impossible to please God. B.
9 Not of works, that no man may glory. Not of works, as of our own growth, or from ourselves: but as from the grace of God. Ch.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. For we are his workmanship, not only as to our body and soul, but by a new creation in Christ Jesus, with a new heart by his grace. Wi. — S. Paul now compares our conversion to creation, to shew that we had been called and justified without preceding merit. In the same manner as the things which God has drawn out of nothing, cannot glory as if they had contributed any thing to their existence. S. Jerom. hic.


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John 3:14-21

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: This comparison of the serpent lifted up in the desert, upon which whoever looked was immediately cured from the bite of the fiery serpents, is a figure of the crucifixion of Christ on Calvary. And we remark, that our divine Saviour makes use of these words, the Son of man must be lifted up or exalted; ( exaltari ) by which form of expression he would teach us, that he does not consider the cross as a disgrace, but as a glory; (Theo. and S. Chrys.) and moreover, that as the Israelites, bitten by the fiery serpents, were cured by looking upon the brazen serpent, so are Christians cured by looking up with an active faith, replete with love and confidence, on Jesus Christ crucified.
15 That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting.
16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. Give his only begotten Son—God sent not his Son into the world.He was then his Son, his only begotten Son, before he sent him into the world. He was not, therefore, his Son, only by the incarnation, but was his Son from the beginning, as he was also his word from all eternity. This was the constant doctrine of the Church, and of the Fathers, against the heresy of the Arians, that God was always Father, [1] and the Son always the eternal Son of the eternal Father. See note on chap. i. v. 14. Wi. — The world may be saved. Why, says S. Austin, is Christ called the Saviour of the world, unless from the obligation he took upon himself at his birth? He has come like a good physician, effectually to save mankind. The man, therefore, destroys himself, who refuses to follow the prescriptions of his physician. S. Aust.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.
18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Is not judged. He that believeth, viz. by a faith working through charity, is not judged; that is, is not condemned; but the obstinate unbelieveris judged; that is, condemned already, by retrenching himself from the society of Christ and his Church. Ch.
19 And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. The judgment. That is, the cause of his condemnation. Ch.
20 For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.
21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.