There is a wonderful, comforting message in today’s readings, and it’s a message that speaks to all of us when we’re at the end of the rope in our faith life. That message is that God hears the cries of all of us who are poor in one way or another. Whether we’re actually poor, or whether we’re oppressed, or are spiritually poor and struggling, or our relationships are poor, or we’re just feeling impoverished by a life that is one struggle after another: God hears us. He can’t help but hear us.
The Psalmist echoes the cry that goes on in all of us when we are in the midst of hard times: “Do not forget the poor, O Lord!” How often when we are being tested, do we wonder where God is and demand that he do something right now? It might even feel like we’ve been forgotten. But today’s readings say that isn’t so. God is with us, God hears us, and will always be with us in our need.
That’s what Micah is reminding Israel of in today’s first reading. They can’t be ignoring the poor, because God doesn’t. They can’t be oppressing the innocent, because God doesn’t. They can’t be living evil lives, can’t be cheating people out of their inheritance, can’t be taking what is not theirs, because God does notice, and God will not ignore the evil deeds of this sinful people. There will be justice for the poor, God will reach out to them in their need.
Jesus, in the Gospel, was almost running for his life. He knows that the Pharisees are turning up the heat and trying to kill him. But he will not miss healing the sick and broken along the way. He warns them not to make him known, but he does heal them. Because he cannot be deaf to their cries for wholeness and healing.
That message of comfort comes to us this day. Wherever we find ourselves this morning, whatever need we may have, whatever brokenness in us needs to be bound up and healed, we can know that God is aware of our needs, and will be with us in good times and bad. No matter what.