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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Reflection 2020-07-17 Friday 15th Week in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Isaiah 38; Matthew 12:1-8
The First Reading shows King Hezekiah on his death bed and Isaiah came and told him to get his house in order. In sorrow, Hezekiah poured out his heart. He tells God to remember asked God to how I walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight. God then sent Isaiah back to tell Hezekiah God will extend Hezekiah’s life by 15 years. God also told Hezekiah he will defend the city from the Assyrians. In return Hezekiah asked God for a sign. In response, God told said the shadow on the sundial will go back ten steps.
At first glance, one may think God extended Hezekiah’s life because of Hezekiah’s fidelity to him. Or that Hezekiah’s prayer seems like he is telling God to extend his life because of his fidelity. If we look at Hezekiah’s prayer, there was no request to extend his life. He merely told God to remember his fidelity to him. There was total surrender to what God will do. The response of God is to extend Hezekiah’s life and a promise to defend the city. Hezekiah showed his trust that God will reward him for his fidelity in whatever way God saw fit. He left it up to God to decide how that will be done. Hezekiah merely poured out his heart to God in confidence and trust.
Contrast this to how the Pharisees came to Jesus: in arrogance and self-righteousness. They came and said to Jesus, Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath. The Pharisees came accusing Jesus of ignorance or even tolerating sin. They had their own idea of how God thinks, of how God acts and they demand that the Son of God will meet their expectations. Instead, Jesus corrects them and tells them, someone greater than the temple is here. Jesus tells them, they cannot make God do what they expect. The right interpretation of Scripture does not depend on me. God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, has the final say on how Scripture is interpreted. In their mind, God wants strict observance of the Law. But Jesus corrects them: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. God wants a humble heart more than any sacrifice. Psalm 52:17 tells us a sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit, a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.
Many are still affected by the effects of the virus and as days go by, things get worse. If you are one of those affected, whose life is in a tailspin, whose finances are in ruin, whose world is collapsing or has collapsed, turn to Jesus. Approach him like Hezekiah. Tell him, in confidence, what is in your heart, your frustration, your disappointments, your fears, your doubts. And let God do as he will. We cannot be like the Pharisees who think they know how God should act and expect him to do as they expect. Isaiah 64:1-3 is a prayer telling God to tear the heavens and come down, the mountains will melt, the waters will burn. God did come down from heaven in the Person of Jesus. With his coming the top of the mountains, heaven, melted so heaven is now. The waters of baptism burns our sins away. When our world is collapsing, the Lord is making all things new. Verse 3 says to God: when you did wonderful things, we shall not bear them. We can never imagine what God will do to us when we invite him to enter our lives. It is something no ear has heard nor comprehend, no eye has seen, what God has prepared for those who wait for him.
Do not be afraid. Come to Jesus. Pour out your heart to him and let him do what he wants with your life. Surrender your life to him and see what great things he will do.
Lord, I pour out my heart to you, in the midst of uncertainties. My world is collapsing, my finances are ruined, my heart grows weak and afraid. I surrender to you my life, my finances, my world. I invite you and give you full permission to do with me as you will

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