In today’s Gospel Our Lord works quietly and does not draw attention to himself out of concern for reprisal from the Pharisees. Nevertheless, he knows his mission must continue and hiding is not an option. Even today Christians experiencing persecution quietly risk their lives or their reputations practicing their faith, and even behind closed doors Our Lord is working through His Spirit and winning over souls. Even today Our Lord works quietly through His Spirit in the hearts of those who are broken, desperate, or thirsting for some meaning in life in the face of an emptiness that they experience in the world and in themselves. Our Lord may have been in danger from the Pharisees, but like his disciples today, the work must continue and he wants our help.
In a world that prides itself on making a lot of noise in order to be heard we must take to heart the prophecy of Isaiah in today’s Gospel that Matthew applies to Jesus and his mission (Isaiah 42:1–4; 41:9): no matter what adverse circumstances arise, Christ wants to bear hope and justice to everyone. When the prophecy speaks of the “Gentiles” it goes beyond the Jews to all the nations, just as today we don’t just focus on concerns “in-house.” Believers may be soft-spoken and not seek a lot of fanfare, but they are called to go out into the world, not just stay at home and hide. Through their efforts they help the Lord save that person whose faith, hope, or love is about to be extinguished, and those broken people who seem about to break completely. Those people don’t need scolding, condemning, or bullying but mercy and compassion. If the goal is hope, they should be encouraged and accompanied as that flickering flame is stoked once again and the damage in their lives starts to mend. There’s not a lot of recognition in this mission, and sometimes, sadly, criticism, but we must help Christ continue his work.
Our Lord is working in hearts that are weak and broken through His Spirit even today. Let’s help him in this mission through our courage, compassion, and hope.
Readings: Exodus 12:37–42; Psalm 136:1, 10–15, 23–24; Matthew 12:14–21.