July 18, 2016*
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 395

Micah 6:1-4, 6-8
Psalm 50:5-6, 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Matthew 12:38-42
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

I love today's readings. I love that God is telling today that His job is to take care of us, and our job is to let Him. I have a little poster above my computer where I see it all the time, and it says: "Good day, this is God speaking. I am going to take care of all your problems today, and there is nothing you can do to help me, so just relax and have a good day." I don't always follow that excellent advice, but I am reminded of it all the time. When I was in college my advisor had a poster in her office that said, "Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can't handle." Those thoughts got me through many tough times in school. And today's readings remind us, like those posters do, that God has taken care of us all along, and will continue to do so, and we should let Him do that, and we should be happy for it.

In the first reading God says that He has taken care of his people, so they have no need to wail or worry: "O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you;" The people worry about making sacrifices, about suffering sufficiently for God's favor, but God says that suffering is not necessary. All He asks of his people is for His people to walk in His ways: "You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God." From the psalm, the greatest sacrifice that could be given is not suffering or holocaust, but praise of God and appreciation of His care for his people: "He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."

God says He doesn't want to take livestock away from the people. "I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold." He doesn't want the people to cause themselves suffering for His sake or to get into His good favors. The people who walk His path and who glorify His name are already in his good favor, and those acts are the greatest sacrifice.

Too many people think that suffering is the way to be closer to God, but maybe God just feels closer in times of suffering because He is all the more present, helping us in a time of need. But we don't need to cause ourselves suffering to find God, He's there all the time, and the best sacrifice is our praise and obedience.

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