Grace to you!
Previously, the identity of Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath, who is the justice of God, was explored. Here, I highlight God's justice in Christ as grace to many, including those who were considered outside of the location of saving grace.
The objections and attacks of the Pharisees described in the Gospel of Matthew 12 did not stop the Lord from going about doing good. He continued to heal and show his people the justice and mercy of God, who wants us to have life in abundance (Jn 10:10).
The Lord shows compassion and tenderness to the hungry disciples who needed to eat as they served, even on a Sabbath (Mt 12:1-8). He brings healing to a man with a shriveled hand in the Synagogue (Mt 12:9-14). This, too, happened on a Sabbath.
Many of the audience who were Pharisees were watching to see what Jesus would do. They were daring goodness itself to see if he will be himself. It is like the enemy of righteousness, daring us not to act righteously.
It is paradoxical, isn't it, that people would want us to become who we are not simply because they want us to follow unjust rules they made. When it comes to matters of heavenly grace—truth, goodness, and the order of things the way ordained by God, our Lord Jesus does not hold back from doing his Father's work.
His presence is the justice of God. His ways are right and just. He does not ignore the pains of his people who cry to him.
He went along and did the miracle anyway. No naysayer would stop the Lord. No threat would stop goodness and truth and beauty from breaking forth into lives and renewing things.
Imagine a group of people who claimed a puritan commitment to the Divine Law. Yet, they are ready to commit a willful homicide. They choose the letter of the Law over human life. It is just like a fundamentalist approach to religion. It is an evil fanaticism, which is ready to commit murder and violence in the name of religion.
When such happens, then be sure that the true God is not in that place. Never will God be part of the murder of anyone.
As the Lord Jesus goes about doing good and changing the human ways of doing things, he stirs the water of those settled in their way. He equally opens the oasis of his grace to those who are yet to find hope. When the Lord of the Sabbath is pushed out of his Sabbath, what is left is fruitless toil. Meanwhile, those who never had a chance welcome the true Sabbath in their homes and find grace.
We read that Jesus withdrew from the scenario of those planning to murder him. He blessed the stifled spirit of nations and people who need a Savior. Those who followed him to the solitude of grace received healing along the way also (Mt 12:15).
Another big lesson. The better place to be is where the Lord is. The safest anchor is not with princes and kings and security of political and economic prowess. It is anchoring in the Lord for where the Lord is, in solitude or the busy streets of life, there is incredible healing and peace.
We read how his withdrawal to a different location was a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. It is about the suffering servant who, anointed, proclaims justice to those considered outside the radius of saving grace—Gentiles (cf Mt 12:18).
“He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory” (Mt 12:20), meaning those already bruised by sin will receive the righteousness of God in Christ. For “in his name will the Gentiles hope” (Mt 12:21), meaning all nations have in Christ the answer we search and the hope of saving grace we long.
I pray that we be on the side of God in Christ. There is the safest place to be. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
[Saturday Week 15: MI 2:1-5; Mt 12:14-21]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.