Why confess your sins?

The first reading today is from the Prophet Micah. The words of the prophet are very appropriate for this Lenten Season:

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins (Micah 7:18-19)

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Bethlehem and Micah

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Advent in cycle C of the lectionary.

Thus says the LORD: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, and the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace. (Micah 5:1-4a)

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Cast Away

The prophet Micah preached to Jerusalem, but he was not from the city. He was an outsider from the farming village of Moresheth in the Judean foothills. You can imagine how the people, priests, and temple prophets received his prophecies of death, doom, pestilence and punishment. I am sure they would have liked to cast him away, tossed outside the city walls.

Where some prophets are rejected because the town knows them too well, e.g., Jeremiah and Jesus, other are rejected because the listeners assume their town of origin automatically dismisses them. In our own day, we too have trouble recognizing and accepting the prophets. They tend to chip away at the edges of our consciences and memory where lies guilt, remorse and regret; and too often, hesitancy to acknowledge our fault and seek reconciliation. They are the things we too should cast away outside the walls of our lives.

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Some thoughts

Today’s readings continue Micah’s challenge to the people of Jerusalem: “I remember the devotion of your youth.” There is something haunting about the phrase, hoisting up the image of our ventures, projects and endeavors that we begin with such enthusiasm, hope, and expectations. There is something inspiring about see a person years on that carries that same passion and hope for the now many years of efforts, the venture still ongoing. Continue reading

Growing weary

We all have people in our lives with whom interaction leads to weariness. We get tired of hearing the same story, tirade, commentary, joke, response, the same sameness. We all have moments in our lives when “life” just adds up to makes us weary. We lack motivation, energy, enthusiasm, and sometimes are just bone tired. Maybe it is the realization that you have already explained how to do something, the same something, to the same person, and nothing changes. You grow weary and are on the road to not caring, emotional shutdown, and not a whole lot seems attractive or not engaging enough to actually get up and engage. Continue reading

The Book of the Prophet Micah

In the 16th Week of Ordinary Time, the first reading for daily Mass comes from the Prophet Micah. So, take a moment find out more about this amazing prophet of the Lord.

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. Like his better-know contemporary, Micah proclaimed God’s word during the reigns of three kings of Judah: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. It was during a particularly turbulent era when each of the three Judaean kings had to face the machinations of four Assyrian kings with empire expansion on their minds. The Assyrian goal was simple: completely dominate the western Fertile Crescent that also included the Kingdoms of Israel (north) and Judea (south). There is not a great deal of biographical information in the text itself to narrowly date the time of Micah’s ministry, but the consensus of scholars is that his earliest writings preceded the fall of the northern kingdom, Israel, in 722 BCE. The majority of his writing are associated with the 701 BCE threat again Jerusalem/Judah by King Sennecherib of Assyria. This leads to the best estimate of a ministry that covered some 20+ years. The solitary reference to Micah outside the book (Jer 26:17–18) places him in the reign of Hezekiah and reports that he went from his small town to proclaim the word of the Lord in the capital, and asserts that his announcements of judgment against Jerusalem moved the king and the people to repentance. Continue reading