Daily Reflection
July 20th, 2002
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Micah 2:1-5
Psalm 10:1-2, 3-4, 7-8, 14
Matthew 12:14-21

Why, O Lord, do you stand aloof?
Why hide in times of distress?
Proudly the wicked harass the afflicted,
who are caught in the devices the wicked have contrived. 
     R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!
For the wicked man glories in his greed,
and the covetous blasphemes, sets the Lord at nought.
The wicked man boasts, "He will not avenge it";
"There is no God," sums up his thoughts. 
     R. Do not forget the poor, O Lord!

It is good to remember the age-less prayer of the poor, crying to God, to be rescued from the wicked, the wealthy, and from those who do not fear God.  And it is good to remember God's faithful and everlasting commitment in God's special care for the poor.

It is also good to remember today that Jesus is God's response to our intense prayer for help.  And the way God chose to place Jesus with us was to place Jesus with us in our poverty.  In the midst of all that you and I are struggling with these days, it is comforting to remember that Jesus knows and understands.  He lived with misunderstanding and rejection.  He faced forces that were set against the good he tried to do.  He had relatives that made life difficult for him.  And, he grieved so much - for terrible injustices he suffered and saw happening to others, for the darkness that seemed to reign in the midst of his own faith community, for the loss of loved ones, in fear of his own death.  Jesus knows and understands where we are today.

By living and enduring the trials of his life, Jesus learned to trust in God.  He asked for help and surrendered to the mystery of suffering that was given him.  I imagine an incredible balance in him.  We know that he experienced anger and that he expressed it.  But, we hear reference to his gentleness and inner tranquility and peace:  "He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench."

What is incredibly wonderful to remember is that Jesus transformed his experience of solidarity with those who suffer into a powerful compassion and passionate commitment to serve, comfort and heal.  He confronted the enemies of the poor, religious hypocrites and empty practices.  His words and his deeds placed him with us in our experience and with us in our prayer for help.

Finally, we remember that Jesus surrendered to the greatest darkness of all.  He died as a victim of injustice, and ritually became the sacrifice that set us free from the power of our sin and our death.

Dear Lord Jesus, hear our cry for help.  When we are tempted to feel alone or abandoned, comfort us with your presence and peace.  When we are tempted to rant and rave and feel sorry for ourselves, help us to turn to you for the gift of your serenity and trust in God.  And in our grief or when we are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged or disillusioned console us with your redeeming love.  Change our hearts.  Set them on fire, like yours, to hear and understand the cry of the poor around us - in our families and our communities and in our world.  Place your own Spirit upon us that we might have the wisdom and integrity to name injustice and work on behalf of the poor.  And, free us from all anxiety and fear, that we might ask you to take and receive us today, and use us in self-sacrificing love, according to your will.

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