2 Kings 25:1-12
Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
King Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, led to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, the palace of the king, the Temple of the Lord, and the walls of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Jeremiah prophesied that the Babylonian exile would last for seventy years: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10-11). God promises to restore Israel, give them a Davidic king who will establish peace and justice in the land.
What is more, “the restored reign of the Davidic king is joined, in Jeremiah’s prophecy, to an inner transformation that accomplishes a new passover: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord’ (31:31-32). Israel’s death will be followed by resurrection” (M. Levering, Ezra & Nehemiah, Brazos Press, 41).
King Nebuchadnezzar will have a dream of a statue and the prophet Daniel will have a dream of four beasts that symbolize the succession of kingdoms, leading to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. The golden head and the lion represents the Neo-Babylonian empire (612-539 BC), the silver chest and the bear represents the Medo-Persian empire (539-331 BC), the bronze torso and the leopard represents the Greek empire (331-63 BC) and the iron legs and feet and ten-horned beast represent the Roman empire. In the days of those kings, God establishes his kingdom, through Jesus Christ, the son of David, which will never be destroyed.
In the Gospel, Jesus comes down from the mountain to perform the first of ten miracles, signs that reveal the nature of the kingdom he announces. Jesus first cures a leper, who exhibits great faith in Jesus and his divine power. Jesus is not made ritually unclean by touching the leper; rather Jesus’ holiness transforms the uncleanliness of the leper and makes him clean.
In his Incarnation, the Son is not made unclean by assuming our human nature. He became like us in all things but sin. He was not contaminated by his solidarity with us. Though his passion, Jesus transforms our human nature, he merits for us the Spiritual Bath that will cleanse us of our sin. We are made clean in the waters of Baptism because it is our share in the action by which our human nature was transformed, namely the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus announces his kingdom with a call to repentance. Through the gift of God’s grace, we turn from a life of sin and enter into communion with God. Christ, the high priest taken from among men, has made us a new people, a kingdom of priests. Jesus tells the leper to show himself to the priest so that he can be re-introduced into the community of worship. Through our Baptism and our Confirmation we are introduced into the Liturgy of God’s Kingdom: we now share in the thanksgiving sacrifice of the Son of God; we truly worship the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.