Our first reading is from Micah who grew up in farmland west of Jerusalem. Seven centuries before the birth of Jesus, Micah predicted, “You, Bethlehem-Ephratha, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel.”
Micah complained of the rich who planned iniquity on the couches. Jeremiah, a contemporary, spoke of those drones as being served by relatives and neighbors who had been sold into slavery in payment for their debts.
Those farmers who have lost their lands are not much different from people today whom the banks have foreclosed. They said, “Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out among our captors.”
They mourned the fact that if they were ever allowed to come back they would not be able to identify their ancestral land. They say, “We shall have no one to mark our boundaries.”
That last complaint is one Jacksonville people might have heard from their grandparents. In 1901 a spark struck the stuffing in a mattress factory, and in eight hours a fire had consumed the 2,368 buildings that made up the 146 city block area of Jacksonville. There was one small-time surveyor who had grabbed up all his papers in running before the flames, and his armful of papers were all the city had to mark its boundaries.