Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Micah 6:1-4.6-8; Matthew 12:38-42)

Most Christians are well aware of the judgment scene toward the end of Matthew’s gospel. In it Jesus tells how he will come at the end of time to judge the peoples of the earth. In the reading from the prophet Micah today we find a counterpart in the Hebrew Scriptures to that memorable scene.

God appears in the trial as both plaintiff and judge. He has a case against the people of Israel. Although He has freed them from slavery and given them His Law as their guide, they have been anything but loyal. They have ignored righteousness and like testosterone-laden young men lusting after whores they have joined themselves to other gods. Now facing powerful enemies, they turn to God for assistance. They propose paying their indemnity with sacrifices – animals, oil stocks, or (how could they ever imagine this?) their own children. But God exacts neither blood nor material. He only pleads that Israel be just, good, and humble.

As simple as it seems, what God asks is impossible for humans alone to accomplish. We need to be fortified with the grace of Christ if we are to walk in God’s ways. It alone will move us to selflessly feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and so enter God’s kingdom.