will you be gentle or wick-ed?
"The smoldering wick He will not quench." —Matthew 12:20
A man with a shriveled hand comes to the synagogue (Mt 12:10). This man is like a smoldering wick. One of his hands is almost useless. There's still a little life left in his hand, but it's just smoldering, barely alive.
How did the Pharisees react when they saw a smoldering wick? They reacted with wickedness by exploiting this man in hopes of accusing Jesus (see Mk 3:2). When confronted with healing and life, they wickedly plotted death (Mt 12:14).
How does Jesus react when a wick is smoldering? He responds with gentleness and compassion, bringing life, healing, and hope (Mt 12:13). The Pharisees were supposedly devoted to the prophecies of the Old Testament, but even while Jesus fulfilled these prophecies in their very midst (e.g. Is 35:6; 58:8; Ez 34:16), their determined choice to act in wickedness blinded them to the truth being revealed in front of their eyes.
Despite our wickedness, God still treats us gently (see Mt 11:29). Jesus won't even snuff out a smoldering wick, that is, a person in whom the light of God has just about died, such as the Pharisees. Though He could act in justice and severity toward those who, like the Pharisees, have allowed their hope in Him to diminish almost to extinction, He instead covers them with gentleness in trying to lead them to faith.
Who are the smoldering wicks in your life? Work with Jesus to set them aflame with the light of Christ.
Prayer: Jesus, You came to light a fire for the smoldering wicks in my life. Use me to ignite the blaze in their lives (Lk 12:49).
Promise: "Many people followed Him and He cured them all." —Mt 12:16
Praise: St. Camillus de Lellis was rejected twice as a novice because of a leg ulcer, which led him to a life of ministry to the incurable.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009
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