You Have Been Told What is Good

Today’s first Mass reading is from the Book of the Prophet Micah. Not a book most of us know exceedingly well, but most of us are familiar with the line that ends today’s reading, God’s explanation to the people, through the prophet Micah, of what is required of them.

What is clear from God’s words is that the easy things don’t cut it. Burnt offerings. Calves a year old. Thousands of rams. Myriad streams of oil. God is not interested in the trappings of sacrifice. Rejecting those, the people are told: “You have been told what is right and what the Lord wants of you: to seek justice, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.”

Seek justice. Love tenderly. Walk humbly with God. The burnt offering is a whole lot easier and so we pray for the grace to fulfill the command given to the people by the prophet Micah. Following is an excerpt of a prayer taken from a book by James McGinnis called Activities for Catholic Social Teaching. You might consider praying it after reflecting on the words of today’s reading.

God of justice, help us to open our eyes and hearts to the injustices all around us and see the faces of your people who are being exploited, discriminated against, cast aside. Give us the courage to speak up for your people, whether it’s to political leaders, corporations, or to our own families and friends.

God of mercy and love, you love all your children with a mother’s tenderness. Send us your Spirit of love to open our hearts to those around us. Make us the instruments of your tender love. Help us to touch others with loving eyes, with consoling words, with gentle hands.

Creator God, we truly are your humble creatures. Help us always to put you first – the first thought in our minds when we awaken, the first Person we turn to for help, the first consideration when we make decisions about using the talents, time, and treasure you have given us. Help us to place ourselves prayerfully in your presence each day.