In today’s First Reading the Kingdom of Judah, the southern part of Palestine, is facing a threat from the Kingdom of Israel, the northern part of Palestine, which has allied with Aram (Syria) to invade Judah. The Lord sends Isaiah to the king of Judah, Ahaz, to ensure him that the kings who seek to invade are “stumps of smoldering brands”: they’re like matches that are about to burn out, flash with little substance. However, the Lord does ask for Ahaz’s faith or else his kingdom would not stand. In the end, Aram would conquer the Kingdom of Israel and Judah would not fall in Ahaz’s time, despite his weak faith.
The Gospel reminds us today what the Lord insisted on through Isaiah: “Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm.” Our Lord chastises those towns who had received the grace of him and his miracles for their lack of faith: the fate they’d incur was worse that some of the worst cities in the Old Testament. Why so harsh? Because now ignorance was not an excuse. The towns Our Lord scolds had received a visit from God himself; they’d received the Gospel and had not believed. Due to their disbelief them would not be firm and that’s a recipe for disaster.
This pattern continues even today. Society in many sectors, culture in many areas, is not what it should be. Let’s ask Our Lord to bolster our faith and through a life of faith help keep society solid. The faith is not just good for believers; it helps everyone.
Readings: Isaiah 7:1–9; Psalm 48:2–8; Matthew 11:20–24. See also 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.