Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Isaiah 7:1-9; Matthew 11:20-24)

In a painting of Blessed (soon to be Saint) Kateri Tekakwitha, the maiden grasps a cross with both hands. The work is entitled “Holding on to Faith,” perhaps because Kateri, a native American, had to flee her tribe in order to maintain the Catholic faith she had embraced. Faith further moved her to vow virginity and to dedicate herself to charitable works. It is the kind of faith that the prophet Isaiah calls for in the first reading today.

Isaiah is something of a court prophet who advises the king. Ahaz, the king of Judah, worries as his realm is besieged by two neighboring powers. Should he form an alliance to withstand the onslaught? Isaiah warns the king that politics will not save him. Instead, the prophet insists, he must trust in the Lord. As Isaiah says, “Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm.”

At times we may be tempted to abandon our faith for some social goal. Perhaps we would join a non-Catholic Christian community to have our children get a good education. Or maybe the temptation is to stop going to church in order to become part of an elite group of non-believers. In such situations we need to remember Isaiah’s advice. We will be strong as long as our faith is strong.