Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! 


Today’s readings are filled with predictions of violence and disaster coming upon villages, towns, and entire kingdoms.   In one way, it makes sense.   In ancient times, politics was often conducted by the edge of the sword and the tip of the spear.   The law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ruled the day, both in families and in international relations.

But as disturbing as these readings may be, they also offer God’s wisdom on how to become peacemakers.

In the first reading (Isaiah 7:1 -9), Isaiah urges King Ahaz to stand firm in faith rather than take up arms.   This kind of faith is more than saying, “I believe in God.”   It’s the faith that trusts in God and doesn’t engage in treachery or betrayal.   It’s the faith that believes that God can bring good out of evil—and so it pushes ahead humbly in the midst of hardship.

Then in the Gospel (Matthew 11:20-24), Jesus laments that if the towns of Galilee had learned repentance, they could have avoided destruction.   This is the kind of repentance that goes beyond saying,  “I’m sorry.”   It involves a change of heart and a change of behavior.   It’s the decision to turn away from sins that provoke violence—sins like vengeance and greed—and choose God’s way instead.

Are you facing some kind of conflict?   Take Jesus’ words to heart and repent.   Try to bring peace by making small changes to your words or actions.   Maybe try a lighter touch or offer a kind gesture to an “adversary.”   Choose mercy over judgment, just as God has done for you.

Take Isaiah’s words to heart as well.   Place your faith in Jesus.   Trust that following his way of reconciliation and love can heal wounded relationships.   Even if, like him, you are rejected at first, believe that, like him, your faithfulness and humility will win the day.

“Jesus, make my faith firm so that I can become a peacemaker like you.”

Psalm 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24


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