Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Kings 19:9b-11.14-21.31-35a.36; Matthew 7:6.12-14)
In this time of pandemic it is instructive to note a similar one in Scripture. Today’s first reading recounts how the mighty Assyrian army ready to attack Jerusalem was overwhelmed. It says that tens of thousands of its troops succumbed to the pestilence on the fields of Judah. Those who did not die fled back to their native land.
The Biblical writer understands the fall of the Assyrians as a divine triumph. God responds to the prayer of Judah’s king for help. In fact, Hezekiah has a reputation of piety. He opposes worship of foreign gods and reforms Judah’s cultic worship. It is right, then, that God acts on his sincere plea for help.
In today’s gospel Jesus warns his disciples to “enter through the narrow gate.” He means, of course, that they conscientiously do his Father’s will. Hezekiah’s doing so spared the falling of his kingdom into the hands of Assyria. Let us not doubt that our doing so will secure similarly favorable treatment. It will likely spare us much trouble and usher us into God’s kingdom.