In the first reading for today we encountered one of the passages that, the first time I read it, I had to blink, shake my head to remove possible cobwebs, and then re-read. Did they just find “the book of the law” (2 Kings 22:8)? Were the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, unknown to them? The books that are the most fundamental to letting Israel know who and whose they are; “the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD”; all were a revelation to the young King Josiah.
Josiah had inherited a kingdom whose prior ruling kings were not remembered as “good shepherds.” The very books of the Covenant were lost in the store rooms of the Temple. The Temple had fallen into dusty disuse, disrepair and second-fiddle status to false gods of other people with whom Judah struck political bargains.
Josiah was also very young and facing a culture and practice that had been ingrained in Jerusalem life for more than 200 years. Yet it was his call to action. Called by his encounter with the Word of God.
How many of us are Jerusalemites? People for whom our Bibles are pristine with unbroken spines, every page free of highlights and notes in the margins? For whom our Bibles have found a modern way to replicate the dusty disuse, disrepair and second-fiddle status of old. We don’t think of ourselves as having false-gods, but something or someone has replaced the Holy Scriptures.
When was the last time you had a Josiah moment and experienced a call-to-action because of your encounter with Sacred Scripture?
Don’t buy a lotto ticket. Don’t expect to win.
Don’t read the Word of God. Well… this life will be less encumbered. The next life? Just asking…