Our readings for this Saturday in ordinary time are hardly ordinary at all. In fact, with the imagery we find from the prophet Micah, along with the Gospel echo of the great prophet Isaiah, our readings invite us to reflect on many discouraging things that are happening this day before our very eyes.
Micah tells us of the deeds of evil people, those who "plan iniquity and work out evil on their couches." It seems these people are so evil that they plot against the just and righteous ones around them and seek to steal even a person’s inheritance! How easy it is for us today, given recent events, to appreciate the words of Micah when we hear him cry out, "They covet fields and take them…they (even) cheat an owner of his house." Sound familiar? Such deeds are certainly reminiscent of the many headlines reporting the actions of greedy real estate brokers and lenders unleashed upon naive and unsuspecting buyers who futilely dreamed of owning their very own homes. Many good people in America have joined their plaintive cries to those suffering people of old: "Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out…and no one can get them back!"
Yet, in the 12th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, even as the Pharisees plot to put Jesus to death, Isaiah’s words bring comfort and hope, not only to the audience of Jesus’ time, but to all those who suffer in our world today. For the Lord will send to us his servant and, through God’s own Spirit, this servant, Jesus the Lord, will proclaim justice and hope that will result in victory. Still, the triumph of justice over evil must be waited for. Jesus told those who experienced his healing and saving power not to make him known. As difficult as it may be, we are called to trust in the Lord day by day as we live in hope, believing that goodness and justice will truly be victorious over evil no matter how daunting that wrongdoing may seem to be. We are called, then, to trust, wait, and hope.
Fr. Pat Brennan, C.P. is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.