1 Hezekiah sent messengers to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, bidding them come to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in honour of Yahweh, God of Israel.
5 they resolved to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, calling on the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate a Passover in honour of Yahweh, God of Israel, since they had not celebrated it in a body as prescribed.
6 So, by order of the king, courtiers set out with letters from the king and his officials for every part of Israel and Judah, saying, 'Israelites, return to Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and he will return to those of you who are left and have escaped the grasp of the kings of Assyria.
7 Do not be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, God of their ancestors; he brought them to ruin, as you can see.
9 For if you return to Yahweh, your brothers and your sons will be treated mercifully by their captors and be allowed to return to this country; for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn his face away from you, if you return to him.'
12 while in Judah the hand of God was also at work inspiring a unanimous desire to obey the order of the king and the officials in accordance with the word of Yahweh.
13 A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. An immense crowd
14 set to work removing the altars then in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.
15 They then slaughtered the Passover victims on the fourteenth day of the second month. Ashamed of themselves, the priests and Levites had in the meanwhile sanctified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of Yahweh,
18 For a great many people, especially from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulon, had not purified themselves, since they did not eat the Passover as prescribed. But Hezekiah prayed for them as follows, 'May Yahweh in his goodness pardon
19 everyone whose heart is set on seeking God, Yahweh, God of his ancestors, even if he has not been purified as holy things demand.'
20 Yahweh listened to Hezekiah and left the people unharmed.
21 Amid great rejoicing, the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, while day after day the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh with all their might.
22 Hezekiah then encouraged all the Levites who had such understanding of Yahweh. Having finished the seven-day festival, during which they sacrificed communion sacrifices and praised Yahweh, God of their ancestors,
24 Hezekiah king of Judah contributing a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the congregation, and the officials another thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep. And a large number of priests sanctified themselves.
25 The whole congregation of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the whole congregation coming from Israel and the foreigners coming from the territory of Israel as well as those resident in Judah, rejoiced.
26 There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, nothing comparable had ever occurred in Jerusalem.
27 The levitical priests then stood up and blessed the people and their voice was heard, and their prayer reached his holy dwelling in heaven.
Reading 1, Isaiah 8:23--9:3: 23 For is not everything dark as night for a country in ... Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14: 1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my ... Gospel, Matthew 4:12-23: 12 Hearing that John had been arrested he withdrew to Galilee,13 ... Reading 2, ... continue readingMore Daily Readings
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.
Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.