December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Till like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace.
- Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
- By God's word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire.
- How awesome are you, ELIJAH! Whose glory is equal to yours?
- You brought a dead man back to life from the nether world, by the will of the LORD.
- You sent kings down to destruction, and nobles, from their beds of sickness.
- You heard threats at Sinai, at Horeb avenging judgments.
- You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance, and a prophet as your successor.
- You were taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses.
- You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to reestablish the tribes of Jacob.
- Blessed is he who shall have seen you before he dies,
- 1 O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind! Then ELISHA, filled with a twofold portion of his spirit, wrought many marvels by his mere word. During his lifetime he feared no one, nor was any man able to intimidate his will.
- Nothing was beyond his power; beneath him flesh was brought back into life.
- In life he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds.
- Despite all this the people did not repent, nor did they give up their sins, Until they were rooted out of their land and scattered all over the earth. But Judah remained, a tiny people, with its rulers from the house of David.
- Some of these did what was right, but others were extremely sinful.
- 2 HEZEKIAH fortified his city and had water brought into it; With iron tools he cut through the rock and he built reservoirs for water.
- During his reign Sennacherib led an invasion and sent his adjutant; He shook his fist at Zion and blasphemed God in his pride.
- The people's hearts melted within them, and they were in anguish like that of childbirth.
- But they called upon the Most High God and lifted up their hands to him; He heard the prayer they uttered, and saved them through ISAIAH.
- God struck the camp of the Assyrians and routed them with a plague.
- For Hezekiah did what was right and held fast to the paths of David, As ordered by the illustrious prophet Isaiah, who saw the truth in visions.
- In his lifetime he turned back the sun and prolonged the life of the king.
- By his powerful spirit he looked into the future and consoled the mourners of Zion;
- He foretold what should be till the end of time, hidden things yet to be fulfilled.
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1 [12-16] Elisha fearlessly continued the work of his predecessor by numerous miracles (Sirach 48:12-14), but the obstinacy of the people eventually brought on the destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the dispersion of its subjects. Judah, however, survived under the rule of Davidic kings, both good and bad (Sirach 48:15-16).
2 [17-25] The fidelity, trust and courage of King Hezekiah (Sirach 48:17, 22), the zeal of the prophet Isaiah, and the prayer of the people (Sirach 48:20) availed with God. The Assyrian oppressors were routed (Sirach 48:18-19, 21), the king's life was prolonged, and consolations were granted the people through Isaiah's prophecies concerning the future (Sirach 48:23-25), especially the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of his kingdom; cf Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 40-65.
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