Mi 7:14-15,18-20; Ps 85:2-8; Mt 12:46-50
“You have brought back the captives.”
Indeed, like any honest saint and even like ourselves, we are all sinners and we can pray Psalm 85 with heart-felt devotion. The Savior of Israel who has brought home the captives from exile continues to forgive our guilt and cover our sins. Indeed, our sins are covered with the Blood of the Lamb of God. We have been washed clean and liberated from all our captivity to sin and vice. The LORD has withdrawn his entire just wrath; he has revoked his burning anger. The LORD has restored us to our original dignity as his beloved children. He has not abandoned us, but he has abandoned his displeasure against us. With Saint Mary Magdalene and all the saints in glory we have been given life, eternal life. The LORD rejoices in our honest and humbled hearts. The LORD shows us great kindness, and he graciously grants us his salvation. Such is the joy of all sinners, in every generation! As the Prophet Micah proclaims our Good Shepherd persists not in anger, but he delights in clemency. We, too, like the loving disciple of every generation of believers, long for the Lord Jesus to call us his own. Indeed it is holy communion that transforms us into a new creation; now all our relationships are new.
It is the Lord Jesus himself who proclaims, “I am the Good Shepherd”. He is the one to takes after God’s own heart which is full of tenderness and compassion. Even more than his ancestor, King David, the Lord Jesus is slow to anger and full of compassion. The Prophet Micah remembers the days of old, and he invites Jacob to recall the days when the LORD fed them in Bashan and Gilead. No one could ever forget the way that the LORD brought them up from the land of Egypt with such signs and wonders. Even though generations of sin separated the people of Micah’s time from the liberated slaves, the LORD removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance, for those who survived the exile and returned to build the new temple. It was generations of unfaithfulness among the people and their kings that sent them packing to Babylon. The Prophet is amazed and he asks, “Who is like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt?” Into the depths of the sea the LORD casts all our sins. The LORD shows faithfulness to Jacob and grace to Abraham. Likewise, to the descendants of these men of faith, the LORD shows faithfulness and grace! May we, too, receive such boundless mercy and divine clemency that the whole world will come to know that “Jesus is LORD” and there is no other.
History and tradition are set-aside in today’s gospel passage. The Lord Jesus redefines relationship. All human relationships are new in Christ. Now, we are to relate to everyone in Christ, with Christ, through Christ. This radical transformation makes us free to love everyone just as we love Christ. It is our radical obedience to the will of our heavenly Father that makes us one with our new brothers, sisters, and mothers. Because we renew our discipleship here at the Eucharist, we are sent out as a new family of faith to love and serve the Lord.