16th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Mic 6:1-4, 6-8
Hear what the LORD says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel. O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Gospel: Mt 12:38-42
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
AUTHENTICITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: The responsorial Psalm summarizes the theme from the readings of today, “To the upright I shall show the saving power of God”. Paul’s letter to the Galatians we read, “Let us not grow weary of doing good” (Gal 6: 9). Paul is urging the Galatians to keep living in a way that is consistent with what they believe. The good deeds represent who we are rather than the sacrifice that we make before God. Authenticity and accountability are virtues which is fast disappearing in the world today. It is time that we live our lives according to the values of the Gospel of justice, peace and integrity of creation. If we fail to walk the talk then we become like empty vessels which make a lot of noise. No one will take us seriously. As Christians it is our bounden duty to stand for these values.
Prayer: Lord, strengthen me to do the right things always.
HUMILITY PAYS: God does not fancy burned offerings, thousands of rams and streams of oil, says prophet Micah. He requires that we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” In the gospel, Jesus is surprised by the lack of receptivity of the listeners to the Word. Instead of allowing the Word to penetrate their hearts and be converted, they question his authenticity and demand more miracles. Jesus asks them to learn from the people of Nineveh who opened their hearts to the preaching of the prophet and were converted. They should also take the example of “the Queen of South” who admired the wisdom of Solomon. Both the people of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba will condemn those who criticize Jesus for the failure to listen to greater wisdom than that of the prophet and that of Solomon. What about our generation? Does arrogance of being knowledgeable and rational block our capacity to know the greater wisdom of God? We need humility to accept the wisdom of the Word of God to transform our life.
OUR SALVATION IS COMPLETE IN CHRIST: After having permitted the children of Israel to leave, pharaoh decides to retract his permission. He assembles his army to get them back to Egypt. Unfortunately even after seeing all the miracles by the hand of Moses the children of Israel feared and did not believe in the plan of God to save them. The Gospel shows us the hard hearted scribes and Pharisees asking for a sign from Jesus. However, Jesus tells them the only sign they will see is that of His death and resurrection. Today there are people who have refused to believe in what Jesus has done and they are waiting for more signs. But Jesus says the sign of His death and resurrection is enough to redeem us from the slavery of sin. Let us entrust our life in His hands.