Scripture: Lectionary 390. Isaiah 7:1-9. Psalm 48:2-3.3-4.5-6.7-8. Matthew 11:20-24
Jesus confronts his listeners who do not trust or believe in him. He makes a comparison with them through the towns that were judged severely by God: Tyre and Sidon. They had failed to reform. Jesus says even greater judgment will be passed on the towns that surround the places Jesus was so familiar with and which were near his own town of Nazareth. Chorazin, Bethsaida and even Capernaum where Peter had a home. He says it will be easier for Sodom that for these towns whose people are so unbelieving. We recall how earlier in Mark 6:1-6 we heard how a prophet is not received in his own town. He is more than a prophet and is sad that he is not making sense to the people of the towns mentioned.
Isaiah prophesies against the rebellious ones who conspire even against the holy city of Zion (Jerusalem). He puts God’s judgment upon them but assures the believers to continue to be strong, very strong in their faith. (This is a motto for the Marianists, “Fortes in Fide” – strong in faith. Isaiah’s makes it very clear to them: “Unless your faith is firm, you shall not stand strong.”
Both of our readings are strongly prophetic and do include the judgment of God within them. We all are advised to reform, to renew, and to return to our covenant relationship with our loving God. We are to center our heart on the love of God and the love of his Son Jesus. We are able to call upon our faith, hope, and love received as gifts at our Baptism. They are to be renewed in our love for God.
Our Psalm speaks of Zion being upheld and protected by God. It like the Church is promised to stand strong in its faith, hope and love. We pray for all those who do stand strong in their faith even amidst great persecutions in certain countries that are almost at civil war within its own territory and among and between its own peoples. We pray for all who suffer from war and terrorism. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.