Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Isaiah 38:1-6.21-22.7-8; Matthew 12:1-8)
Hezekiah has been a reform-minded king. He prohibited worship of pagan gods in Judah and tried to reestablish the Temple in Jerusalem as the central cultic place for all Israelites after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. The first reading today shows the Lord taking to heart the cry of this good leader.
A characteristic of the prophetic message is God’s openness to His people. He could change His plan if the people turn back to him. This phenomenon is seen in today’s passage from Isaiah. The prophet tells Hezekiah to prepare for death, but when the king utters his heart-felt plea that God take into account his faithful service, the Lord changes His mind. As God’s loyal messenger, Isaiah does not seem chagrined at all to report this turn of events.
We also should look to God for deliverance when all appears lost. Particularly when it seems that our sins are causing our downfall, we should petition God for mercy. Of course, God expects our repentance to be sincere and may not grant exactly what we ask. Nevertheless, we can count on Him for help.