Psalm 85: Transformed Landscape

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

December 7, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our liturgy repeats yesterday’s verses from Psalm 85. That’s how important they are to our Advent prayer! So let’s pray with our psalm in the light of the readings which surround it today.

Today, in our first magnificent reading from the poet-prophet Isaiah, we read about the transformation God can accomplish even over the most broken and desolated landscapes. Isaiah encourages us to exuberant hope:

Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
coming with vindication;
With divine recompense –
coming to save you.

Isaiah 35: 3-4

In our Gospel, Jesus transfigures both the inner and outer “landscape” of a young paralytic who has good and creative friends.

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. 
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus. 
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

Luke 5: 18-20

Our psalm reflects the transformative power in both readings as we pray:

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD – who proclaims peace to the people.
Near indeed is salvation to those who reverence God,
glory dwelling in our land.

Psalm 85:9-10

“Glory dwelling in our land”
– the land of our earth,
and the land of our hearts.
Let’s hope for it, believe it,
invite it in our prayer today.

Poetry: Rumi

And you?
When will you begin
that long journey into yourself?
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Music: Handel: Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened / He Shall Feed His Flock

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