15th Week, Saturday, Jul 18

Micah 2:1-5 / Matthew 12:14-21
Micah warns Judah: “What you take will be taken from you.”

Micah bears a striking resemblance to Amos. He preached around 700 B.C., just before Assyria destroyed Israel in the north. Like Amos, who lived some 50 years before him, he came from the vicinity of Bethlehem. Micah also spoke out in the same blunt, unpolished way as did Amos. But where Amos preached to Israel, Micah preached to Judah in the south.
In today’s reading, Micah foretells that those who plunder the poor will in turn be plundered by God. There is a message here for all of us.
As we do to others, so God will do to us. Do we really believe that as we sow, so we shall reap? Jesus said, “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen was an articulate and eloquent speaker and preacher. In fact, he was one of the pioneers of media evangelization. But when he was in college, a debate coach told him that he was the worst speaker he had ever heard. Well, Fulton Sheen proved him wrong. And so did others like Ernest Hemmingway and Thomas Edison who proved their critics wrong. Yet there are also many others who were crushed and devastated by the criticisms against them.

And some don't recover from it. Criticisms may not come with a sarcastic tone. It may be just a jeer or a scorn, but it is as bad as a brawl and a shout.

In the gospel, we heard about the Pharisees criticizing and plotting against Jesus. Yet, like how the prophet Isaiah prophesied: He will not brawl or shout; he will not break the crushed reed, not put out the smoldering wick till he has lead the truth to victory.

Let us turn to Jesus whenever we face criticisms or scorching remarks. May the truth of His love lead us to rise above the criticisms and destructive judgments. May we prove that the truth spoken with love is more powerful and creative than the harsh word that breaks and crushes people.
Saturday July 18

Saturday of 15th Week in Ordinary Time


The prophet Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, scolds those who have exploited the poor. God will punish them by having their possessions divided among the pagan invaders.
Jesus is presented today as the servant of God who brings healing to the people without drawing attention to himself: He brings God’s tender care to people. He respects and heals what is little and brittle.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
you gave us Jesus, your Son,
as the wise and perfect servant
of you and of the people.
Put your Spirit on us too,
that like him and with him
we may bring your healing and justice
to the weak and the dispossessed,
without calling attention to ourselves,
that people may see that what we give them
is your tender care as taught us
by Jesus Christ our Lord.

An old saying goes, “Those who plot evil shall live to reap it.” Unjust scheming for personal gain is not a modern phenomenon but is at least as old as the biblical prophets. Micah in today’s reading sees greedy people who plot to dispossess the poor and underprivileged. It is a blatant disavowal of the Hebrew ethic and its concern for the needy.
But Micah sees sorrowful days of foreign invasion on the horizon, and it will be a day of woe for the greedy and misguided. Wealthy landowners will see their own property portioned out by the invaders, and they will find themselves among the dispossessed. What a contrast we have in today’s picture of Jesus, who goes about healing and comforting and asks only that he be able to act with quiet and discretion.
In our time crimes of every sort fill our daily papers. Even some public officials are guilty of working against the common good. Regrettably, not even the church is exempt. Religious leaders have freely helped themselves to parish funds until they are apprehended by the law. Rare indeed, but still a great misfortune.
We should pray each day for the grace of honesty and candor and live a life of concern for others that is at the heart of the New Testament message.

Points to Ponder
Dishonesty in public office
Sacred office and profane conduct
Christ as a social figure

– That we may learn from Jesus to be discreet in our love and service to the poor, we pray:
– That we may learn from Jesus to be very respectful of people and care especially for those wounded in life, we pray:
– That Jesus may give us his Holy Spirit to work for justice and righteousness in our world, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
this bread and wine we bring before you
will become among us
your beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Let your and his Spirit rest on us too
and let him renew us
as people who live without compromise
the message of justice and love
and the very life of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
you have called us to be brothers and sisters
of Jesus, your Son,
and to share in his task
of serving and healing
Fill us with his compassion
and his discreet and tender love
that lifts up those broken in life
and those wounded by sin.
Help us to restore people in their human dignity
and to make them aware that they are
sons and daughters you love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have heard God say about Jesus that he is the servant he likes. Jesus makes us servants with him. May we too be pleasing to God, and may almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.