15th Week in Ordinary Time (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)
1st Reading: Mic 2:1-5
Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches; In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power. They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance. Therefore, thus says the LORD: Behold, I am planning against this race an evil from which you shall not withdraw your necks; Nor shall you walk with head high, for it will be a time of evil. On that day a satire shall be sung over you, and there shall be a plaintive chant: “Our ruin is complete our fields are portioned out among our captors, the fields of my people are measured out, and no one can get them back!” Thus, you shall have no one to mark out boundaries by lot in the assembly of the LORD.
Gospel: Mt 12:14-21
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.
JUSTICE, PEACE AND INTERGRITY OF CREATION: The religious leaders were not happy with the way Jesus went about preaching the good news. Jesus always expressed his closeness to the poor, the widows, the sick and the sinners. He showed them their worth and brought them dignity in their lives. This is indeed our mission too today. The poor are always the victims and there are few who support them. When we engage in these activities, we too will find obstacles and challenges to overcome. In our words and deeds, we need to proclaim justice which is vital for peace and development. There are many who suffer due to poverty and injustice. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an alarming rate. What is my response to the sufferings of the poor and the needy?
Prayer. Lord, let there be peace and justice in the world.
A MESSIAH FOR ALL: Prophet Micah is clear that God will not watch silently the evil plans and the atrocities of the wicked. “Behold, I am planning against this race an evil.” God stands by the exploited and rescues them. In the gospel, faced with opposition from the Pharisees who conspire to destroy him, Jesus does not take a confrontational posture but withdraws to a less public place, and continues his ministry serving the sick and the poor. His Messianic role, that he has to fulfil entails bringing justice to the poor. All his actions have the approval of his Father. His ‘withdrawal’ is from the non-receptive Jews to the Gentiles who receive the benefit of his ministry. In God’s plan of salvation, Jesus is not a Messiah for Israel alone, but for all people. He surrenders his life finally at Calvary so that we all may receive salvation. We remember today St. Camillus de Lellis who dedicated his life fully to the service of the sick and the poor and founded a religious congregation (known as Camillians) for the same. He tells us, “Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven.”
THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE TRUE: Finally, the people of God leave Egypt. It took different signs to convince pharaoh to let the people of God leave. Their departure is a fulfilment of God’s promise through Moses. Because of Moses’ faith even when pharaoh resisted the voice of God he did not give up. God on his part knew what he was doing, where he was aiming, and the time that his people would leave. However Moses was in the dark. In the Gospel we see Jesus as the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy at the time that God had ordained. Both Moses and Jesus were empowered by God. In life, we may have reasons to feel that God’s promise is not being fulfilled and his words are not coming to fruition. Today we are reminded to trust and obey Him patiently.