In today’s First Reading Micah paints the portrait of those who scheme to get what they want. They are so obsessed with gaining something that they lay awake at night (the “couches” of the reading) and are ready to put their schemes into action first thing in the morning. It doesn’t matter who they cheat; they want what they want. In the context of today’s First Reading their greed for land is even worse, because it means taking people’s birthright simply to increase their wealth. The allusion to marking out boundaries by lot in the assembly of the Lord refers to the fact that it was the Lord himself who parceled out the Promised Land when the Israelites first arrived; losing your land meant you had no share in the Promised Land.
The Lord warns schemers through Micah that scheming narrows your vision so much that you become blind to greater threats. In this case, all the conspiring is swept away when the land for which they were willing to sell out their brothers is taken by invaders and they go into servitude. When we are driven by greed the Lord is almost obliged, for our own good, to strip away from us that which we covet.
Compare the schemers of the First Reading to Our Lord in today’s Gospel. He is at the mercy of schemers too, and is prudent in doing his work, but his work is focused on healing others and striving quietly and gently for justice to reign in the world. It is no coincidence that we call him the Prince of Peace. Let’s always side with the real winner and not be schemers.
Readings: Micah 2:1–5; Psalm 10:1–4, 7–8, 14; Matthew 12:14–21. See also 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.