Today we hear the prophet Micah’s that there was a breakdown of concern between the people of Israel – basically between the rich and the poor. And this breakdown was equivalent to a rejection of the exodus itself. All had been equally led forth into freedom no matter what their economic status. I had not known this before, or at least I didn’t remember it that God’s complaint as spoken by Micah (vv.3-4) is used in the Good Friday liturgy. In the context of that Mass the accusation shows us the complaint God had against all of humanity. And when the church commemorates the death of Jesus as redemption for the sins of the world, it is all of humanity who bears the guilt.
The last line is a summary of God’s expectations for any just and faithful person. There are really three things: 1) doing justice, namely being in right relationship will all people and all creation; 2) mutual kindness between each and every human partner in God’s covenant; and finally, 3) living in personal humility before God. This is a good summary of what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments – love your neighbor as yourself and God with all you heart. You’ve heard it many times.
You could probably imagine how disappointed Jesus was when some religious leaders spoke up and demanded “to see a sign from you.” Jesus had already worked many miracles, but obviously for the wrong persons in the eyes of these leaders. Jesus had shown what it meant to minister with kindness and concern, but these people wanted something different than the cure of a poor cripple or any number of things Jesus had done to help others.
Jesus then brings up the stories of Jonah and Solomon. The religious leaders knew these stories well. The conversion of many Ninevites and the queen of the south being amazed by the wisdom of Solomon. We hear Jesus remind them sternly that is something greater than both Jonah and Solomon standing right in front of them.
This should be a reminder as well to us that sometimes we can be too selective in the miracles from God. Unless we take the risk of being generous to others no miracle will prove anything to us.