First reading 2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36

The Lord protects Jerusalem from Sennacherib and the Assyrians

Sennacherib, King of the Assyrians, sent messengers to Hezekiah saying, ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?”’
  Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, ‘O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.
 
‘Give ear, Lord, and listen.
Open your eyes, Lord, and see.
Hear the words of Sennacherib
who has sent to insult the living God.
 
‘It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, Lord.’
  Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel,’ he said, ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.” Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him:
 
‘“She despises you, she scorns you,
the virgin, daughter of Zion;
she tosses her head behind you,
the daughter of Jerusalem.
A remnant shall go out from Jerusalem,
and survivors from Mount Zion.
The jealous love of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this.”
 
‘This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
 
‘“He will not enter this city,
he will let fly no arrow against it,
confront it with no shield,
throw up no earthwork against it.
By the road that he came on he will return;
he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks.
I will protect this city and save it
for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’
 
That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 47(48):2-4,10-11

God upholds his city for ever.
 
The Lord is great and worthy to be praised
  in the city of our God.
His holy mountain rises in beauty,
  the joy of all the earth.
 
Mount Zion, true pole of the earth,
  the Great King’s city!
God, in the midst of its citadels,
  has shown himself its stronghold.
 
O God, we ponder your love
  within your temple.
Your praise, O God, like your name
  reaches the ends of the earth.
 
 

Gospel Matthew 7:6,12-14

Treat others as you would like them to treat you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
  ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.
  ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’
 
 
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Narrow way that leads to life

To follow Jesus is to take the narrow gate and walk the hard road. It is
not easy to do so because His values of self-giving love, trust,
forgiveness and compassion are, to some extent, opposed to our
society’s norms where one’s self-interest and well-being are more
important than others. Yet, Jesus calls us today to follow Him by
choosing to die to our pride and selfishness and work for the good of
others before our own.
 
Though Jesus’ path is difficult, it is the way that leads us and others to
an abundance of life, here now and for eternity. Let us say “Yes” to follow
Jesus and make His values ours.
 
 
Question for reflection:
“Enter by the narrow gate”. How can I apply this call of Jesus concretely
to my life today?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.