Monthly Scripture Reflection
“For justice is undying.”
July starts with Wisdom telling us “God . . . fashioned all things that they might have being” . . . and “they all are wholesome.” “God formed man . . . in the image of his own nature.” So how is it that we have let our world today become so topsy-turvy? We shall spend the rest of the month finding in the readings attitudes and examples of how we might help in starting to right things.
St. Paul in his Epistles praises us for our good expressions of faith and of love, but then reminds us that Jesus gave up all he had to become poor like us. Shouldn’t we be willing to use some of our abundance to supply those in need? And in turn they will then supply ours when we have a need of some kind, as indeed we shall. It’s “a matter of equality,” he said.
But what about when we feel really low and think that we just can’t live up to God’s expectations of our caring about our neighbors? “My grace is sufficient for you,” says God. He has “destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ” and granted us “forgiveness of transgression.” Indeed, he has “lavished grace upon us” and we “were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus “preached peace to [us] who were far off . . . and to those who were near” so that through him “we both have access in one Spirit.” We can do it! “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
It is not always easy. Look what happened when Jesus taught in his own hometown synagogue. Who does he think he is? was the attitude of the people there. “He was not able to perform any mighty deeds there” and “was amazed at their lack of faith.” Ezekiel also learned this when the Lord sent him to preach to Israelite rebels “hard of face and obdurate of heart.” But “whether the people heed or resist, they shall know that a prophet has been among them,” God said. When Jesus sent his apostles out two by two to preach and heal, he warned them people might not listen. So just “leave there and shake the dust from your feet.” When they returned and reported, Jesus was compassionate: “Come by yourselves to a deserted place and rest.” Just as he often went off by himself to rest and pray.
With Jesus, faith and compassion were key in the Gospel selections from St. Mark and St. John. To the woman cured of a long-standing illness just by touching his cloak, he said “Your faith has saved you!” To the mourning family of Jairus he said, “Do not be afraid, just have faith.” And then after raising the little girl to life, he told them to give her something to eat. He was “moved by pity” by the large crowds following him into the desert. How feed them? When all they had was five barley loaves and two fish? Jesus blessed that food and fed the 5000+, and had the disciples gather the leftovers, “so that nothing will be wasted.”
For Jesus was ever the good shepherd and the careful steward. He saw that his beloved people “were like sheep without a shepherd.” In Jeremiah the Lord had said, “Woe” to those who “mislead and scatter the flock.” “You have not cared for them.” So “I myself will gather the remnant . . . and bring them back.” And he promised, “a righteous shoot of David . . . shall govern wisely” and “do what is right and just.” How well are we following that “righteous shoot,” Jesus, in providing hope and justice for the poor and the refugee in our midst?
“The Lord is our Justice.”