Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Micah 6:1-4.6-8; Matthew 12:38-42)
Most Christians are aware of the judgment scene toward the end of Matthew’s gospel. In the story Jesus foretells 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 an Old Testament counterpart 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 His commandments and, like young men lusting after whores, have joined themselves to other gods. Now facing powerful enemies, they come back 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 sounds, the rectitude that God seeks becomes a monumental task in a world with so many diversions. Fortunately, we have Christ as our model and strength. Grounding our lives in his teaching and coming to his table for nourishment, we can feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and visit the sick and imprisoned. In short, we can prepare ourselves to enter God’s kingdom.