Daily Readings Reflection for 7/16/10

Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings


Scripture: July 16, Lectionary # 393. Isaiah 38:1-6, 21.22.7-8. Psalm Resp.
also Isaiah 38:10.11.12.16. Matthew 12:1-8:

God is the giver of life and for this we are grateful.  God also is the one
to whom we return at the end of our life and we pray that we may face that
horrendous event which no one escapes. We ask God to be with us at the hour
of our death with his mercy and kindness.  Jesus is also the one who shows
us the way through the ordinary things of life. He declares himself to be
the Lord of the Sabbath. Our Psalm and its response is taken from the
prophet’s same chapter 38, but it contains the psalm and prayer of the good
king Hezekiah.  All of our readings help us to face the future event of our
death by trusting in God.

Hezekiah (715-687 B.C.), one of the greatest kings of Judah, cooperates,
consults, and prays with Isaiah his courtly prophet. Hezekiah is gravely
ill and begs the Lord to spare him and to revive him.  The prayer he offers
is similar to the psalms of thanksgiving like Psalm 118 and similar to
Jonah 2:4-7.  We can learn much about Hezekiah. He is referred to over one
hundred times in the books of II Kings, I and II Chronicles,
Jeremiah,Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah. His faith was the greatest among the
kings after David. He was a man of prayers both personal and for the
nation.  When he is inflicted with a deadly infection he turns and faces
the wall from his bed and prays to God for life. It is granted to him and
he lives for another fifteen years.

“The loss of faith is ultimately the loss of moral power. One of the main
lessons of Hezekiah’s life is, Have faith in God.” (H.Lockyer). We easily
see why the liturgical response is chosen from Isaiah since it is the very
prayer of Hezekiah and gives us a key thought for the day: “You saved my
life, Lord. I shall not die.”

In the Gospel Jesus is walking with his disciples through a field of wheat
on the Sabbath.  They pluck the grains and eat them. Some passersby notice
this and confront the Lord with allowing His followers to break the Sabbath
by such “work.”  Jesus always takes up the complaint and answers it in the
spirit of the halakic laws of the Torah. He cites an incident from David’s
reign where the king himself took the sacred breads from a shrine and gave
them to his soldiers.  Therefore, it is permitted to take steps to
alleviate one’s hunger on a Sabbath.  Jesus declares himself as Lord even
of the Sabbath!  Jesus is right. God does not make laws to have us suffer
from hunger or to prevent those who are hungry to do something about their
hunger even if it takes a bit of “work” on their part. We are to interpret
God’s laws as Jesus showed us by doing so in a positive manner that helped
others.  God’s laws and Jesus’ interpretation are reasonable facets of how
to live a good and wholesome life.  Amen.

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