God Speaks To Us In Subtle Ways

Friday of Week 15 in Ordinary Time - Cycle II

Is. 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8 & Mt. 12:1-8

Hezekiah, king of Judah, was desperate. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, had declared war on all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Now he was heading towards Jerusalem, the capital and Hezekiah's home. To make matters even worse, Hezekiah was facing a mortal illness. He turned to God in fervent prayer, and the Lord sent Isaiah with a message: Hezekiah would be healed, and the Lord would rescue the city.

Could this word be true? Hezekiah humbly asked for a sign. And what a sign he received! Without being offended by the request, God actually changed the course of the sun! He wanted to show Hezekiah and all the people of Jerusalem His love and faithfulness.

Throughout Scripture, God has spoken through dramatic signs. Gideon saw the morning dew only dampen the ground and not a fleece blanket he laid on the ground (Judges 6:39-40). Balaam heard God's message to him through a talking donkey (Numbers 22). And Noah saw a rainbow in the sky as proof of God's covenant of love (Genesis 9:11-17).

God is still sending us signs today. He can be very creative when doing this as He tries to get our attention. Maybe you feel a strong tugging in your heart urging you to call an old friend. You may have a dream that stays with you long after you have awoken. Even rays of sunshine breaking through clouds can be his way of reminding you that He is with you.

So stay alert today. Know that God will be trying to get in touch with you as the day unfolds. Know that He will be sending you signs this very day. Some may be obvious, and others subtle. He may offer you guidance, or He may simply encourage you. All you need are open eyes, open ears and an open heart. God will take care of the rest.

The incident in today's Gospel involved Jesus and His disciples in a violation of Sabbath law. By plucking ears of com they were considered to be harvesting and therefore working, and so the Pharisees seized on the chance to attack them. But Jesus argued on their own ground by referring them to Scripture: the priest in the house of God had given the holy bread intended only for sacred purposes to David and his men when they had been very hungry. The point Jesus is making is that when the need is greatest most laws and rituals must give way. Obviously Jesus' Apostles were not starving but it gave Him an opportunity to reprimand the Pharisees for their unbending approach. Jesus also reminds them that their priests have to work on the Sabbath and no one complains that they are breaking the rules! Finally, by telling them that He is greater than the Temple, Jesus is saying that He is the Lord of the Sabbath and that, therefore, they should listen and learn from Him.

Lord Jesus, may we learn from this incident that rules and rituals have to be observed but there are occasions when, to do Your Father's will, other needs must take priority. Teach us to recognise how best to act in these circumstances.