16th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year II

In today’s First Reading the Lord convokes creation as a jury in the trial between him and his people. He asks Israel what grievance they have against him; this text is also used in the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday afternoon. Its reminds us that just as we judge the world, the world judges us for our actions: not just other persons, but the world itself. Each one of us can examine our world, let it put us “on trial” to see what grievance it may have against us. As a society we can measure how just society is, whether it is being responsible in the consumption and sharing of its resources, whether it lives in solidarity with other societies in the world.

However, this trial also needs to come closer to home, not just that big world out there where sometimes it is difficult to measure our own impact. How do I treat myself (health)? How do I treat my things (my home, my budget, my use of time)? How do I treat others (my family, my friends, complete strangers)? In today’s Gospel Our Lord is being put on trial; they are demanding a sign as evidence. Our Lord prepares them for the future trial of the Last Judgment instead, using two examples of potential witnesses against them: Sodom and Gomorrah, two of the most wicked towns in the Old Testament; and the Queen of the South, who came from far away to seek the wisdom of Solomon because she knew she lacked it. In short, he warns them of the future consequences of their immorality and lack of wisdom.

He also tells them of Nineveh, a town despised by the Jews that repented of its sins when Jonah warned them of their impending destruction by the Lord. The sign Our Lord will give them–the Resurrection–is a sign of their salvation if they welcome it in faith. Our “trial” is not hopeless as long as we have Our Lord in our corner. Let’s not shy away from some healthy self-examination today to see how we can better our world by bettering ourselves through morality and wisdom.

Readings: Micah 6:1–4, 6–8; Psalm 50:5–6, 8–9, 16b–17, 21, 23; Matthew 12:38–42. See also 1st Week of Lent, Wednesday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, and 16th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday.