SAINT APOLLINARIS, BISHOP AND MARTYR (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
The Lord has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel.
It seems kind of harsh for Micah to portray God as an adversary against his people at a trial. Understandably, in light of his well-founded complaint, the people panic. They have no idea how to make amends, so they start trying to figure out how many sacrifices the Lord might want. How many animals or grain offerings are necessary? How far do they have to go to make him happy again? Nothing they could do seems good enough.
That’s why it’s such a relief that the reading ends with God telling them that they already know what is good—and it’s not animal sacrifices or offerings of grain. They simply need to get back to basics: to “do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
God tells us the same thing too. How often, when we become painfully aware of falling short, do we cast about for a way to make God happy again? How much fasting, or how many Rosaries, or how many hours of serving in our parish or neighborhood? No doubt, God values our acts of devotion and service, but they are meant to be expressions of love, not of fear or guilt. God appreciates our loving obedience even more than the sacrifice itself.
Keep it simple, the Lord seems to be saying. Just love me and try to love the people around you.
It’s the beginning of a new week, so it’s a great time to reflect on the ways you might show love this week. If you are concerned that you might fall short of even this goal, don’t worry. Just pick one thing to work on, some way you can love your spouse, your coworker, or those difficult people in your life just a bit better this week. Try holding your tongue instead of answering with a biting comment. Or forgive a perceived slight. Or share an affirming word.
It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy. The good news is, as you pick one simple thing to work on this week, you will end up closer to God and better able to love as he does. Every little step forward is pleasing to him.
“Lord, I want to get back to basics. You have shown me what is good. Help me to love better this week.”
Psalm 50:5-6, 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23