Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
December 15, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 34.
When I read its refrain, my mind was triggered into a kind of “Jeopardy-like” exchange with God:
Answer: This is the reason God sent his Son,
and continues to redeem the world in us.
Question : What is “The Lord hears the cry of the poor”.
Psalm 34 reiterates a fundamental fact so often overshadowed by our highly secularized “Christmas unconsciousness”. The psalm refocuses us by consistently using words like this:
- Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
- When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
- When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
- The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Christmas is God’s response to the unrelenting cry of the poor. If we want to truly honor and celebrate Christmas, we must allow that merciful and healing response to flow through us.
Poetry: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit – Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, story writer, poet and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple for which she won the National Book Award hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Did you ever understand this?
If my spirit was poor, how could I enter heaven?
Was I depressed?
I see how a comma, removed or inserted
with careful plan,
can change everything.
I was reminded of this
when a poor young man
desperate to live
and humiliated for trying
set himself ablaze;
I felt uncomfortably warm
as if scalded by his shame.
I do not have to sell vegetables from a cart as he did
or live in narrow rooms too small for spacious thought;
and, at this late date,
I do not worry that someone will
remove every single opportunity
for me to thrive.
Still, I am connected to, inseparable from,
this young man.
Blessed are the poor, in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus. (Commas restored) .
Jesus was as usual talking about solidarity: about how we join with others
and, in spirit, feel the world, and suffering, the same as them.
This is the kingdom of owning the other as self, the self as other;
that transforms grief into
peace and delight.
I, and you, might enter the heaven
of right here
through this door.
In this spirit, knowing we are blessed,
we might remain poor
Music: The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor – John Foley, SJ