The Chosen Servant

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Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Matthew 12:14-21

But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

 

Opening Prayer: Jesus, grant me a heart that, like yours, does not seek to bruise others, but instead helps me to extend a hand of mercy.

 

Encountering Christ:

 

  1. True Justice: As the Pharisees sought to condemn Jesus to death, Jesus sought to offer life. He came to heal the deepest wounds. He came proclaiming justice even to the Gentiles. The outcast, in the eyes of the so-called righteous, were those whom Jesus sought to set right. By God’s amazing providence, by his humility to “be conditioned” by human freedom, he would offer justice through the hands of those very Pharisees who condemned him. Nothing thwarts God’s merciful heart. Nothing can divert his ultimate plan to open the way through true justice. Jesus will offer himself as the expiatory victim for the salvation of all in need of being made righteous—Pharisees, Gentiles, and modern-day men and women alike.
  2. Behold My Chosen: The prophet Isaiah spoke of a time when God’s servant would bring hope to the Gentiles. He foresaw the chosen one coming in great humility, not contending nor crying out. Jesus is God’s chosen servant, the suffering Messiah. Jesus picks the way he battles to establish his kingdom. He knows his time is coming. He allows circumstances to play out, trusting in the Father’s plan. He is chosen and delights the Father because of his loving obedience. He models for us the truly righteous and just man who puts God’s will above all else. 
  3. Bruised and Smoldering: Jesus’s victory was not won by conquering as human emperors did, destroying those in their path or anyone who opposed their objective of gaining territory and power. His humble approach looks into the heart of every soul. He sees the wounds of each one and applies a tender balm rather than damage the bruised reed even more. He sees the smoldering wick within the human heart that desires more than what they have presently found—they desire salvation. They desire God. He came as a God-man, ready and willing to offer himself in an act of mercy, love, and justice for our salvation. He heals the bruise and sets ablaze the wick with his sacrificial offering and outpouring of grace.

 

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for your gift of mercy, justice, and love. Teach me to trust in your goodness and providence when I don’t understand what is happening in my life. Help me to believe that you have already won the victory of salvation and can apply your redemptive grace, no matter in what situation I find myself.

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an act of trust in your mercy when I feel challenged to believe that you can work through the messiness in my life or in the world.

For Further Reflection: Trust in God’s Plan, Venerable Fulton Sheen.

 

Written by Jennifer Ristine.

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