The humiliation of Israel is remembered in the first reading of Lamentations. The chosen people of God were sent into exile as stated in the readings.
“Your prophets had for you false and specious visions; They did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate; They beheld for you in vision false and misleading protents.”
Yes, the people of God were warned by many prophets. However, they choose to listen to false prophets who told the people what they wanted to hear. They persecuted and killed the real prophets.
The Israelites knew the commandments and choose only to listen to false prophets because those prophets would tell them what they wanted to hear. Do we have people that are false prophets today in 2016?
Did you get a cold feeling on the back of your neck when I asked the question?
Did you become intense and did you mind start to wander? Were you defensive?
Beware of people who tell you what you want to hear. I will suggest that we do have false prophets in our world today.
“Same sex unions are legal so it must be okay”. We as a people lead complicated lives. Yet reason tells us that there is something wrong with the assertion that we can break a commandment (Romans 1) and that will be alright.
Still, we have the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to direct us, as well as the magisterium of the church.
The cream of Israel society was taken to Babylon. The Babylonians only wanted the educated, and craftsmen. It is interesting to note that only ones left in Israel were the poor and the lame (2 Kings 24:14). Interesting! Will we be sent to exile someday? Maybe we already have been and maybe not in a place but our mindset towards God. The first reading for today is an admission of guilt of a nation and repentance.
“Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.”
The Gospel of Matthew talks about faith, but with an unusual twist. Scott Hahn, a Catholic Theologian from the Franciscan University of Stubenville, Ohio tells of how his wife and he would attend Mass as observers. One of the things that precipitated their conversion to Catholicism was how the Mass was based on Scripture. One of the things he noticed at Mass is that we say just before Communion:
“Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
In Matthew 8, the Centurion says, “ Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Jesus did a lot of healing in this Gospel message, as He went on to heal Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus does a lot of healing in our lives today. He gives us doctors, nurses and medicines. But for healing to occur in every part of our life including our spiritual life, we need to have faith that Jesus will heal us even if our faith is weak.
The Centurion goes on to say, “For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go’ and he goes; and to another, ’Come here’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this’ and he does it.”
There was no guile in this man. This soldier did not understand faith but he did understand his chain of command. Anyone who has been in military service understands this.
Jesus is so amazed by the words of this gentile. He says, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith”. The Roman military machine was built on the authority of a chain of command. It is also based on the knowledge of the one above you that has a greater plan and power to accomplish the mission. The soldier recognized this in Jesus and he trusted the outcome. We need to do the same.
Healing is not magic. Faith is not magic. I am working on improving both and I am not there yet. It is always a work in progress for me. For healing to occur in all our lives we must as the centurion did, believe that Jesus has the authority to heal. Sometimes the way healing occurs is not the outcome that we would like, such as the death of a loved one. Our home is not in this world.
On our journey to faith and healing we need to ponder the fact that Jesus has the authority. We must recognize that Jesus has the plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and we must have the faith that in the end He has the authority to make healing happen. We must put our faith in Jesus and not the false prophets of our day.
Lam 2:2, 10-14-18-19; Psalm 74:1,B-2,3-5,6-7.20-21; Mt 8:5-17