It was the 20th century philosopher and author George Santayana who is noted for the quote:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
All of us who are Christians as well as our spiritual ancestors, the Jewish people, are able to refer to sacred, inspired texts—the Torah or the Holy Bible—reminding us of important lessons from salvation history. These lessons of Scripture are timeless and must be understood as relevant for every age because God’s truth never becomes insignificant or out-of-date.
At various times in the history of the Jewish people, the covenant with God was broken. The people worshipped false gods, led immoral lives and failed to heed the warnings of the prophets. Because of their rebelliousness, they often paid a most severe price. They were exiled from their land, enslaved or even killed.
In the Second Book of Kings (Chapter 22 f.), we read of the reign of King Josiah (641-609 BC) and how the Book of the Law was rediscovered in the Temple during his time. Unfortunately, the people had become oblivious to their obligations concerning the covenant with God. “When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his garments.” (2 Kg. 22: 11) The tearing of one’s clothes is an ancient tradition among the Jews, and it is associated with mourning, grief, and loss. The King realized that he and his people had not been living up to the covenant and he feared the consequences of their infidelity. He began a series of religious reforms. He set himself to the task of cleansing the land from idolatry. He wanted to make it right again before God.
Why do I make reference to this story?
I think that if we forget to draw upon the teachings of the inspired Word of God, we will repeat the mistakes of the past and wind up suffering the consequences of our actions. We have to remain faithful to our part of the covenant with God. This covenant with God has to be seen through the Person of Jesus Christ. . . . For this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Eternal Covenant . . . . We hear these words of consecration at every Mass. Jesus established this covenant and sealed it in His own Blood.
Are we faithful to the covenant or have we abandoned it? Are we committed to worshipping the true God? Do we seriously keep His commands? Do we know and live the words of Sacred Scripture? Do we pray daily? Do we buy into the ways of the world around us and wind up compromising our Christian values? Do we seek to do the will of God in our lives?
The call of the prophets was for the people to return to the Lord and to be faithful to the covenant with God.
Be modern-day prophets and get this word out to the people around us!
Fr. Ed Namiotka