Some call the prophet Micah a prophet of doom. To be sure, much of the text of this rather short book from the Hebrew Scriptures deals with the punishment that will befall Judah because of its betrayal of the covenant relationship.
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. They both were preaching during the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. However, unlike Isaiah, Micah was not from this area. He was an outsider. As such, his popularity would have been even worse than that of Isaiah (if that is possible). The citizens of Judah were not at all enamored of being accused of disloyalty by someone from a different tribe of area of Israel.
Like Isaiah, Micah does modulate between the notions of punishment by and reconciliation with God. Also like Isaiah, Micah does look forward to the advent of the Messiah, the anointed one, who will restore Israel’s relationship with God.
Today’s selection from Micah focuses our attention on the fact that Israel will lose possession of the land on which it has settled. This would have been considered catastrophic inasmuch as the people of that time thought of their land as the exclusive dwelling place of their God. Losing the land was tantamount to losing their God.
“’Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out among our captors, the fields of my people are measured out, and no one can get them back!’ Thus you shall have no one to mark out boundaries by lot in the assembly of the LORD” (Micah 2:4b-5)
The children of Israel regarded the land as their particular gift from God. Each tribe of Israel received a portion or plot of land on which it could not only dwell but also make their livelihood. While our concept of country and personal property is decidedly different, we should have no difficulty understanding their point of view. The fact is that until very recently, we have not been subjected to attacks on our own soil. Wars have been fought in other countries and other parts of the world. However, that is no longer the case. At the same time, there are those who would say that we are also being subjected to internal attacks on the very values and ideas upon which our nation was founded.
The voice of Micah is, consequently, just as relevant for our own times as it would have been for his. Indeed, we need to consider whether we have been faithful to our covenant with God and make efforts to return to a way of life that puts us in right relationship with God.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator