THURSDAY OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “How have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.”
Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
In a day when Israel has been attacked and there are warnings that the adversary will be blown to rubble, the Malachi reading is extremely sobering. "...you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him." And, "See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch."
This is the natural progression of good and evil. God has his people as a special possession but those who will not obey God will suffer a fate worse than death. As we live our earthly life, our mission is to help others to find the way to eternal life. We only have to go to God and ask for what we need. God, the good Father, wants to provide for his children and give them good things. He desires nothing less. The best He can give us is his Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is a gift that everyone can possess.
God is good to all. He is good to the just and to the unjust. But if anyone begins to think that it is vain to worship God and keep his commandments only because they have thus far not received terrible consequences for their unrighteous acts, they will find that God remembers. Those who serve Him are his children.
Today we pray for all those who are far away from God to ask and seek and knock, so that God may open his door to them.