Scripture Reading for Today: Malachi 3:13-20b (read it here)
Malachi is the last book of the so-called “minor prophets.” It almost certainly comes from the post-exilic period when Israel was a religious community within the Persian Empire, which lasted almost 200 years (539-333 BCE).
The people of Israel have no king of their own but are united around their priests and temple worship. The situation the prophet Malachi addresses seems to be one of weariness, indifference, and almost moral fatigue. Priest and people alike appear to be guilty.
The people are disillusioned with the injustices they see all around them. And it seems that the wicked and the proud not only escape punishment but even enjoy prosperity in this life. And so, the spontaneous question is: Why bother to serve the Lord? What is the advantage of keeping the commandments of the Lord?
This viewpoint, of course, fails to recognize God’s gracious patience, waiting for sinners to wake up to the realization that they take so much for granted in this passing world.
But there are others who serve God no matter what the circumstances. They encourage each other to hold on to the truth that the world belongs to God and that human pursuits of power and control will someday prove to be an illusion.
Malachi answers that those who fear the Lord and trust in God’s name are noticed by the Lord. Their courageous loyalty to the standards of heaven will bring them advantages the world could never provide. They will be rewarded, however, according to God’s timetable—on the day God takes action. They may not see it right now, but later the distinction between the good and the wicked will be clear.
In other words, although the wicked seem to prosper in present times, their future days will be bleak, and justice will be served to each according to one’s deeds. There will come a day when God reveals who is just and who is not. On that day, loyal service to God will make all the difference. Human pride and arrogance will count for nothing on that day.
Malachi introduces at this point the image of a record book listing the names of God’s loyal servants.
Unlike other prophets who make a distinction between Israel and the nations, Malachi sees the distinction rather between those in Israel who serve the Lord and those who do not. For those who are faithful, God will be like the sun that shines in the darkness with its healing rays.
To the Eucharist we bring our sorrows and our joys, our triumphs and our defeats. This bread and wine we offer are the symbol of ourselves, and we offer them to the Lord, so that he may transform them into his Body and Blood.
We also look with expectation to his return in glory where all the secrets of our heart will be revealed.
Let us be found just in God’s sight.
Inspired by Mary, let us also live in Jesus’ presence, eager only to please him.
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Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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