Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
October 11, 2019
Today, in Mercy, we have the first of two readings from the imaginative poet-prophet Joel. Joel lived at the time of a massive locust infestation in Israel. He compares that devastation to the conquest of an invading army which can be expected if the people do not repent.
If you have the time, I suggest you read the whole brief book of Joel at one time. Doing so gives a clearer picture of the prophetic cadence Joel employs. It is repeated by most prophets and it goes like this:
- Hey folks, things are a mess!
- Guess what, they’re gonna’ get worse.
- Besides that, it’s your own fault.
- So wake up and repent.
- But don’t worry because God still loves us.
- God wants to and will make things better.
- Motivate yourself by that hope.
- And anyway, we’re all just waiting for that great and final day.
- So praise God by your righteous life.
Oh, but gloriously literate Joel delivers this message with such passionate turns of phrase! Let yourself relish one of two of these startlers from today’s passage.
Listen for how they speak to your heart in the current circumstances of our world:
- Gird yourself in sorrow
- Spend the night in scratchy haircloth
- The Day of the Lord comes as ruin from the Almighty
- a day of darkness and of gloom,
- a day of clouds and somberness
- The enemy is numerous and mighty
- Their like has never been seen before
You might say, “Gee, I’m not really feeling all that bad, and the sun’s out where I live!”
Well, try reading the phrase as if you lived in Kurdish Syria, or war-torn Yemen. Hear the prophet’s warning as an immigrant fleeing your country, or a democracy-seeker in Hong Kong. Listen to this word of God as a person without a home, or food, or healthcare might hear it.
In many ways, things are a mess! What are we called to by today’s reading? What is the warning and the hope within it to impel us toward a more just and merciful life?
Music: Deep Within – David Haas