Saturday, June 30, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we encounter a rare -in fact, singular- reading from the Book of Lamentations. While passages from the book are used in the Lenten Tenebrae service, today is the only time we will meet Lamentations during the Mass readings.
So, let’s give it special attention.
This tenderly written and grief-filled Old Testament poem laments the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem nearly 600 years before Christ’s birth. The disaster is seen as God’s punishment against a faithless people, who have listened to false prophets. These prophets, rather than confronting the people with their sinful blindness, enabled their guilt in order to be popular and accepted.
What does Lamentations have to say to us? What, in particular, can it teach our religious leaders about their political voice?
Many of us recognize that we live in a toxic world. Terrorism, perpetual war and militarism, rampant consumerism, political isolationism, environmental destructionism are just some of our global “Babylons”. There are numerous local and personal ones as well.
We all play some role in the fostering or impeding of these systems in our culture. A sincere and active faith helps us see our role and responsibility more clearly. We need faith leaders who are not afraid to call us to insight, lamentation, and prayerful action. We, and the political leaders we choose, need to build a world where we live in balanced relationship with God. This is a world where all God’s people live in peace, sustainability, mutuality, and freedom.
While the Book of Lamentations is filled with sadness and regret, it also contains one of the most beautiful and hopeful verses in Scripture:
Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed,
for his mercies never fail.
They are renewed each morning;
So great is God’s faithfulness.
`~ Lamentations 3:22-23
Some of us may feel that our our current socio-political world is irredeemable, but Lamentations says we are wrong. Vibrant faith, active hope, and limitless courage will prove it.
Music: Great Is Thy Faithfulness