Homilette for Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Isaiah 10:5-7;13b-16)

In trying to come to terms with the great evils that have wrecked humankind, some theologians have concluded that God has no power over forces like armies or hurricanes. Rather, they say, God only inspires people to carry out His will like a mother might encourage her children to do the right thing. However, it is hard to square such a weak God with the reading from Isaiah today.

Assyria was a great power during the first third of the millennium before Christ. It conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 plundering the cities. Isaiah’s oracle, delivered on God’s behalf, lambasts Assyria for going too far in its demolition of Israel. God intended that it punish Israel for the latter’s many offenses. However, Assyria went beyond all the bounds of humanity in completely destroying the nation. Now, Isaiah predicts, God will call Assyria to account for its excesses. In fact, Babylonia conquered Assyria a hundred years later.

When we suffer, we should call to mind that God is in control of the universe and all that is within it. Although we cannot understand why He allows good people to undergo terrible misfortune, we still can turn to God in prayer for mercy. We should not doubt an instant that God loves us and will come to our assistance.