Reflection for Tuesday, July 18, 2000: 15th week in Ordinary Time.

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Fortina, Deb
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Isaiah 7:1-9 Isaiah intervenes " ... Lord Yahweh says this ... If you will not take your stand on Me you will not stand firm."|Psalm 48: 2-8 Zion, the mountain of God " ... For look, kings made alliance, together they advanced: without a second glance, when they saw, they panicked and fled away ... "|Matthew 11:20-24 Lament over the lake-towns "Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.."|To summarize the message of today's readings, I am reminded of another lesson from God's Word; to those who much has been given, much will be expected. When you hear God's voice, listen, do not run away. The readings call us as they did a people of long ago to Trust in the Lord in all matters. This is probably the most difficult thing for the faithful to do. Personally, I am usually in a desperate state before I remember to call on the Lord. If we knew Him better, would it not be a more natural act?|To the people of Judah (in Isaiah), we hear God say, Trust Me, your enemies in war will not prevail against you. To those in Christ's time (in Matthew), we hear Jesus say, Trust Me, Follow Me (feed the hungry, cloth the poor, care for the sick, etc.), believe in Me, and shun the evil one. After all the signs and miracles Jesus worked in that day, He expected the people to repent and make changes in their lives. We have a lot in common with the people of those days. Like them we do not trust God, and seek instead another more humanly solution. What a great message for us to ponder in our own lives. How much do we let God handle our own lives? How often do we ask for help?|In the reading in Isaiah, from the 8th century B. C., we find the people from the house of David trembling "as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind" (Isaiah 7:2), including their king, Ahaz, at the news of probable attack. Their enemy, the Arameans are encamped at Ephraim on Judah's border. The Lord tells Ahaz, through the profit Isaiah, "Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear, let not your courage fail ... ." (Isaiah 7:4) To the claims of the Arameans that they will tear Judah asunder, the Lord says, "This shall not stand, it shall not be ... (in sixty-five years) Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation ... Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!"(Isaiah 7:7-9) Ahaz does not listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah to be faithful to the Lord and have courage, but Isaiah, faithful to the Lord, turns to the people directly calling them who have become wayward to turn back to the Lord.|In Matthew, Jesus says to the people of the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernum, "For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. Still, I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on Judgement Day than for you." (Matthew|To those who much has been given, much will be expected. Let us fight the temptation to handle all of our affairs without first consulting the Lord. Each day approach the Lord, and ask for an increase in faith. Some day doing it all ourselves will be the harder thing to do. It will feel most unnatural. Like the sign found on church property: "Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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