Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Kings 19,9-11.14-21.31-36

on hearing that Tirhakah king of Cush was on his way to attack him. Sennacherib again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 'Tell Hezekiah king of Judah this, "Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you with the promise: Jerusalem will not fall into the king of Assyria's clutches. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to all the other countries, devoting them to destruction. Are you likely to be saved? Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers' hands and read it; he then went up to the Temple of Yahweh and spread it out before Yahweh. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of Yahweh, 'Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, enthroned on the winged creatures, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the world, you made heaven and earth. Give ear, Yahweh, and listen; open your eyes, Yahweh, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to insult the living God. It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but human artefacts -- wood and stone -- and hence they have destroyed them. But now, Yahweh our God, save us from his clutches, I beg you, and let all the kingdoms of the world know that you alone are God, Yahweh.' Isaiah son of Amoz then sent the following message to Hezekiah, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, says this, "I have heard the prayer which you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria." Here is the pronouncement which Yahweh has made about him: "She despises you, she scorns you, the virgin daughter of Zion; she tosses her head at you, the daughter of Jerusalem! for a remnant will issue from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion. Yahweh Sabaoth's jealous love will accomplish this. "This, then, is what Yahweh says about the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city, will shoot no arrow at it, confront it with no shield, throw up no earthwork against it. By the road by which he came, by that he will return; he will not enter this city, declares Yahweh. I shall protect this city and save it for my sake and my servant David's sake." ' That same night the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. In the early morning when it was time to get up, there they lay, so many corpses. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the fall of the northern kingdom the threat turns toward Jerusalem. The Assyrian king has Hezekiah been told not to place his faith in the Lord. But once he read the letter, Hezekiah immediately goes to the temple and turns to the Lord in a heartfelt prayer. He does not pray for himself, but for the city and for the salvation of his people: "Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see..." He prays that God does not abandon his people in the hands of the king of the Assyrians and of their gods that are only "the work of human hands—wood and stone." He professes his faith: "You, O Lord, are God alone." Though mindful of the threats against Jerusalem, Hezekiah does not let his faith extinguish. He knows he can trust in God and that only He is his strength. Hezekiah receives a response in the words of the prophet Isaiah, sent by God to reassure him that his prayer has reached heaven. The city of Zion will not only be saved from destruction, but the Lord will preserve the city, "for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors." The city is saved by God not for its own sake, but for the mission God entrusted to its people. That small "remnant" is the small group of the Lord's faithful which He has chosen to profess his plan of universal salvation to the entire world. The salvation the Lord grants is not only for oneself but for all. God's intention to save all the peoples of the earth remains steadfast and he does it through the mission of his people that always remains a "small remnant." And yet their mission is universal.