Micah 6.1-4,6-8; Psalm 49; Matthew 12.38-42
Micah was a prophet in the 8th Century Before Christ in the southern kingdom (Judah). His hometown was Moresheth, near the border of Philistia, about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. He was contemporary with Amos (who prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel). He notes [Micah 1.1] that he prophesied during the reigns of Jotham [II Kings 15.32-34], Ahaz
[II Kings 16.1-4] and Hezekiah [II Kings 18.1-7], a rollercoaster series of kings judged by the author of Kings as good, bad and good. We read today and tomorrow from the final section of Micah’s prophecy, couched as a courtroom in which Judah is placed on trial for national apostasy.
The Christian Church uses this chapter in the liturgy of Good Friday, when, as we come to venerate the Cross of Christ, the Reproaches (Improperia) are sung: “My people, what have I done to you? Or how have I grieved you? Answer me.”[Micah 6.3] Far from being anti-Semitic or a way of attaching blame to all Jews for the crucifixion, as is sometimes suggested, these verses join Christian and contemporary people to the indictment of humankind in every generation. We have received from a bountiful God, and we have responded by biting the hand that feeds us.