16th Week, Monday, Jul 20

Micah 6:1-4, 6-8 / Matthew 12:38-42 
The Lord instructs us: Walk humbly with your God.

Richard Nixon resigned the presidency August 8, 1973. His resignation ended the Watergate scandal that sent several of his aides to prison. What happened to him and his staff? Why did so many talented people go bad? In his book Born Again, Charles Colson, one of Nixon’s aides who went to prison, gave his own answer. Referring to C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, Colson said that one passage in that book “seemed to sum up what happened to all of us in the White House”:
“Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” In other words, Colson and his colleagues had failed to “walk humbly with God.”
How humbly do we walk with God? “We are never too big to be humble, but we are sometimes too small.” Anonymous
A wise man can be described as one who believes in what is good and he lives out that goodness in his life. On the other hand, a fool may know what is good but disregards it in his life or even lives contrary to the good. But when wisdom and foolishness are understood in the context of faith, then there are far-reaching consequences in life.

In the 1st reading, we hear of a foolish and unfaithful people being questioned by compassionate God. God was confronting His people: My people, what have I done to you, how have I been a burden to you? Answer me! Yet God was not asking much of His people. He was not asking for gifts or holocausts or libations or sacrifices that the people cannot meet up to. In fact, what was good for the people, God had already made known to them, and this was what the Lord asked of them: to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.

Yet the fact is that we fail in one, or more, of these at any point in our lives. Yes, it is so simple and yet we fail so miserably. To act with justice, to love tenderly and to walk in humility with God and neighbour are profound signs of a good life. May we have the wisdom to understand it and live it out in our lives.
Monday, 16th Week 

First Reading Introduction
God calls the Hebrew people before his court and asks them to justify their conduct. How have they answered his love? The prophet uses a style which the Reproaches (Improperia) of Good Friday imitate.

Penitential rite
-I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you, says the Lord
-At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, says the Lord
-"Only an evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet, says the Lord.

Gospel Reading Introduction
In the Gospel the scribes and the Pharisees demand signs. The Hebrews had failed to see the sign of God in the fact that he had quietly led them to freedom and made them into a people. The scribes fail to recognize God in the message and person of Jesus, in his service, loyalty, and love. God is not a God of publicity. His presence is discreet. The sign of Jonas was that the Ninivites believed his preaching; the three days in the belly of the fish as a reference to the three days of Jesus in the tomb may be a later addition.

The miracles that Jesus performed were powerful and convincing. Giving sight to the blind and giving mobility to the lame would be compelling signs that would help many to come to faith. Yet these signs pale in comparison with His rising from the dead on the third day. The resurrection of Jesus is the preeminent sign of His power over all things, including sin and death.
May we be wise enough to recognize the purpose of Jesus' resurrection, namely, so that we might have life and have it in abundance, today and in the heaven that is without end.
General Intercessions
- For open minds and hearts, that we may believe in God and see the presence of God's goodness and love in nature and in the good people do, we pray:
- For faith in the Gospel and in the person of Jesus when we see how people try to bring his justice and mercy into our world, we pray:
- For gratitude that God has given us the Jewish people as our ancestors and great source of faith, we pray:

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, in times of anguish and desolation we sometimes call for signs and miracles that assure us of your presence. Forgive us our presumption and give us a faith strong enough to recognize you at work in nature,
in the ordinary events of life and in the goodness and service of people. We entrust ourselves to you through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, we bring this bread and this wine before you and we ask you: Give us eyes of faith to believe that in these bare, simple signs your Son can make himself present and give himself to us as the one who serves and shares. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, you have won our love through your Son Jesus Christ, who died that we might live. Through him, give us too the faith and the quiet strength to serve with a discreet love. In this way we can perhaps be the sign of your presence among people. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.