Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Micah 7:14-15.18-20; Matthew 12:46-50)
A new movie, “Winter’s Bone,” hints at the redemption the prophet Micah promises in the first reading today. A seventeen year-old girl, growing up dirt poor in the Ozarks, sacrifices the joy of adolescence to hold her family together. Her father, who moonshines drugs, is arrested and puts his house up as bond. Then he turns up missing. The young girl has to find out what has happened to him if her mother and brothers will have a place to live. She doggedly rises to the task although its bleakness and the harsh life around her drain her of youthful free-spiritedness.
The girl’s determined self-sacrifice reminds us of Jesus’ giving up his life to redeem humanity of its sins. His accomplishment fulfills the prophecy that Micah makes. The prophet relates how God cares about His people. Although they are recalcitrant sinners, He will not abandon them. Indeed, He promises to remove their guilt. Again, their forgiveness is achieved only through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and his resurrection in glory.
In face of such goodness, we need to pause and wonder how God could love us so much. It’s like standing before Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and marveling how anyone can carve a statute with so much pathos. After that, we give thanks and recommit ourselves not to offend God anymore.