The prophet Micah is famous for the call for us to live justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). Today’s first reading (Micah 7:14-15,18-20) is the conclusion of the prophet’s message. What a beautiful and encouraging message it is because God promises to shepherd us to rich and safe pastures, forgive our sins and heal our wounds. Our God is always faithful and trustworthy, the one we can rely on. It is such a positive and upbuilding message. While there are people who speak of the God of the Old Testament as a judge to be feared Micah reminds us that God always cares for the flock with tender care and compassion.
Jesus’ response to his family in the Gospel passage for today (Matthew 12:46-50) is both encouraging and unsettling. What would his family have felt when he turned to his disciples and called them his brother, sister and mother? It’s important to understand that not so much a matter of Jesus rejecting his family as it is that he is building a new community and family in the face of opposition from many sides in this section of the Gospel narrative.
So where does all that leave us? First of all, Micah calls us to never lose sight of God’s care for us. It is a message that can be a source of strength and hope when life is a struggle and the way ahead is not clear. Secondly, if we listen to Jesus and respond to his word we are brought into a new set of relationships as disciples with whom we can share the struggle and share each other’s joys and struggles – companions on the journey.