Saturday July 18, 2020. Our Lady’s Saturday. Readings: Micah 2: 1–5; Responsorial Psalm: Psalm:10; Matthew 12: 14 – 21
Jesus is aware that events are leading up to a life-crisis for him. And so he tries to clarify with his followers, in what sense his mission could be called a ‘revolutionary programme’. His preaching movement has certainly not aimed at armed confrontation (no fighting in the streets) in an effort to oust the Roman occupation of the land. Nor was it an effort to force good moral behaviour through punishment or threat, (breaking the crushed reed, putting out the smouldering wick).
In spite the Pharisees desire to destroy him Jesus did not take flight out of fear or fight out of anger. Instead Jesus focuses on revealing his Father’s love as the truth and the justice he lives by. This he did in a quiet and persistent way and not in a strident one. He is sensitive to and gently fosters all the signs of life in us and especially where we are ready to push out its boundaries.
Jesus was an advocate of justice who quietly proclaimed a message of love which set his people free. When he encountered hostility as the Pharisees conspired against him he did not want his followers to make him known. This was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah about the Suffering Servant who was full of gentleness and compassion, which Jesus applies to himself.
The Pharisees used the Scripture as a code of law, always looking outwards to see how well it was observed. For Jesus, the Scripture was a communication with God, heart to heart. I pray this text from Isaiah as Jesus did, reassured as I notice how God’s promise calls me to hope and promises me life. Jesus experienced constant opposition and even hostility. In spite of this, he does not suspend his ministry of healing, forgiving and spreading the Good News. In him, we also find the courage and strength to persevere in times of difficulty and suffering. Do I give up too easily?
Jesus mirrors the Suffering Servant, who is full of gentleness and compassion. ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love’ (Psalm 103:8). Am I a bit like him?
Let me make the words of Isaiah my own! ‘Lord, I am here as your servant. You chose me: I am your beloved and you are well pleased with me. Put your Spirit in me so that I may lovingly bring justice to victory.’ Jesus values even what is fragile or bruised. The voice of Jesus is not shrill or contentious: the spirit of God speaks to our hearts in a gentle and undramatic way.
Jesus is on the side of the weak. His message, demanding thought it may be, does not crush people. Justice comes through compassion – like care for the bruised reed – not through the exercise of power and violence. In this way Jesus is pleasing to his Father. Prayer strengthens the soul and personality, making us ever-more pleasing to God.
Jesus will always intervene on behalf of the weak, and do so in a way which is sensitive to them, and takes the limelight off himself. Justice is a major concern of Jesus, and this concern with justice will bring hope to all people. In prayer we often find the conviction and strength to do the work of justice.
Pray that you may hear the voice of the Lord today.
God Bless you. Have a wonderful day.