Saint for the day: Benedict, O.S.B. (480?- 503)
Isaiah 1:10-17 – Psalm 50:8-9 – Matthew 10:34-11:1
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.”
These opening words from today’s Holy Gospel set a rather perplexing tone for today’s Liturgy which began with the Lord’s anger about the way His Chosen People had got caught up in all kinds of peripheral ways of honoring God. All ritual is supposed to be a “means to an end” not an end in itself. The key to making this real in our own lives is found in the ending of our first scripture reading from the Prophet Isaiah where we hear, “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes: … Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. This statement mirrors yesterday’s Holy Gospel of the Good Samaritan where we saw the priest and also a Levite just walk past the injured man without doing anything to help him. It was the Samaritan (someone whom the Jews thought was beyond being loved by God) who was neighbor to the injured man. When Jesus asked them who was “neighbor” to the injured man they responded with, “the one who treated him with mercy.” To which Jesus told them, “Go and do likewise!”
All of this fits right in wit today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah where we hear God telling the people that burnt offerings and sacrifices are useless if they don’t change the way we interact with the people who are right next to us. We are told, “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease ding evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”(Isaiah 1:16-17) So, it should be easy for us to see how we need to follow Jesus with hearts filled with mercy. Amen!