15th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year II

In today’s First Reading King Hezekiah seems to have an unspoken question and an unspoken request, and the Lord addresses both. The unspoken question is whether his illness is terminal, and the Lord responds through Isaiah that it is time for Hezekiah to put his affairs in order. Hezekiah doesn’t get angry with God; he doesn’t ask why, even though he has done many good works in his lifetime. He accepts what the Lord has told him with sadness, but without bitterness or recriminations.

He offers those good works to the Lord, as well as his life. His unspoken request is that he might be healed, but he knows that he is in the Lord’s hands. It may seem that the Lord changes his mind, but the Lord often sends a messenger to elicit a response on our part, just as he told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but in the end didn’t let him go through with it. Similarly, Hezekiah is invited to trust in the Lord no matter what the outcome may be; he shows acceptance and trust in the Lord, after having led a good life, and is blessed with fifteen more years of life and protection against the Assyrians.

When we are afflicted and we see Our Lord’s hand in it somehow, how do we respond? If we haven’t lived as good a life as Hezekiah then the first step is conversion, to start doing good works, expecting nothing in return, as Hezekiah did. We know Our Lord reads our hearts and gives us what we need, even when sometimes it is not what we want. Let’s trust in him and he will act.

Readings: Isaiah 38:1–8, 21–22; Isaiah 38:10–12d, 16; Matthew 12:1–8. See also 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday and 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.