The Responsorial Psalm is the cry of a disciple who is also a teacher, but whose message is meeting with
stubborn resistance and even arousing hostility. His response is: "Lord, in your great love, answer me" (read all of Psalm 69). We do not prevail with human arguments against those who reject God's teaching. It is God who must and does reply.
Isaiah 50: 4-9 tells us first that to communicate God's message to others we need to be persevering disciples: "Morning after morning he opens my ear..." God doesn't use us as pipelines but as fountains: we have to be filled to over- flowing ourselves to nurture others. "It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).
Secondly, it is God himself who empowers us; human study and talent are not enough: "The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak..." The essential element in all ministry is union with God that lets God speak and act in us and through us.
Thirdly, even when God is speaking in and through us, some people will reject God's teaching and turn on us. The prophet says that he (and prophetically, Jesus) endured beatings, blows, insults and spitting.
But God vindicates the prophet eventually: "The Lord God is my help, there- fore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." Sometimes people scorn and mock the truths of our faith so much that it makes us feel like we are the fools. That is when we have to keep saying to ourselves, "The Lord God is my help; who will prove me wrong?"
Mathew 26: 14-25 teaches us that our faith must be strong enough to survive rejection and betrayal even by those we have accepted as closest to Jesus. The first to betray Jesus was one of the chosen Twelve, one selected to be an apostle, to hold the office exercised today in the name of the Twelve by the bishops.
When Jesus said, "One of you will betray me," meaning Judas, the other apostles were "deeply distressed." It was a shock to them as it is to us when some- one we trusted, and in whom the Church has placed trust, betrays us all by betraying Jesus. But it is nothing new, nothing that should shake our faith. Jesus said of Judas, "It would be better for that man if he had never been born," but that is no reason for us to give up the gift of our own rebirth in Baptism and to turn away from the Church. Jesus does not prevent sin by taking freedom away; he simply overcomes it. As his disciples we need to remind ourselves of that. Our focus is on God, not on people: "Lord, in your great love, answer me."
Initiative: Be a disciple. Focus on God's truth, not on people's sins.