A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.” (Mt 12:20; cf. Isaiah 42:3)

Here the Evangelist Matthew quotes a prophecy of Isaiah, describing Christ’s healing ministry to the crowds that were following Him wherever He went. The Lord did not turn away even the weakest, the most sinful, the most disparaged, like the harlots and tax-collectors, or others considered “hopeless cases.” They are likened in this passage to a “reed” or very thin branch that is “bruised,” but not entirely broken, and a “wick” not aflame but still “smoldering.”

Today I find great consolation and encouragement in this gentle image. It describes our Lord’s humble openness to those of us who are no great pillars of spirituality; to those of us who have no great “flame” of desire and love for God’s “justice.” I need not be discouraged in the weakness of my resolve today. I can take heart and bring the little I have to the table, taking small steps every day, in a bit of prayer, a bit of contemplation of His word, and doing the next right thing as best I can. I make a beginning today, and let Him do the rest. Because I have a Lord Who takes my bruised and smoldering bit of “justice” and brings it through to “victory.”

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