Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
January 15, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 78, a call to learn from experience and to teach its lessons to our posterity.
What we have heard and know,Psalm 78: 3-4
and what our parents have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.
And the teaching is this:
That they too may rise and declare to their progenyPsalm 78: 6-7
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep God’s commands.
Though stern, the message seems obvious and simple, right?
But the last verses of our psalm today reveal a more complex historical reality:
And not be like their fathers,Psalm 78: 8
a generation wayward and rebellious,
A generation that kept not its heart steadfast
nor its spirit faithful toward God.
In later verses of Psalm 78, Israel’s rebellion finally becomes the last straw. God rejects Israel (the northern kingdom) and chooses the southern kingdom to carry on the Promise. It was BIG!
But they tested and rebelled against God Most High,Psalm 78: 56-59
whose decrees they did not observe.
They turned disloyal, faithless like their ancestors;
they proved false like a slack bow.
They enraged God with their high places,
and with their idols provoking God to jealous anger.
God heard and grew angry;
rejecting Israel completely.
Praying with the psalm today, my soul still swirling in our country’s current events, I ask myself a few questions:
- how is God speaking in our political reality
- what “forgetfulness” are we called to recognize
- what role does acknowledgement and repentance have in redeeming our integrity
- what has our experience taught us that we must safeguard for the future
- how can we unite as a faith community to respond to grace
This commentary by Tom Roberts, former editor of the National Catholic Reporter, enlightened my prayer. I found it disturbing, compelling, and necessary to think on these things. I pray for the courage and discipline to act on them.
Poem: excerpt from “ON THE PULSE OF MORNING” by Maya Angelou
Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, January 20, 1993.
(It is a long, powerful poem. I will post it in a second posting for those who would like to read it in full.)
A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Marked the mastodon, The dinosaur, who left dried tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages. But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, Come, you may stand upon my Back and face your distant destiny, But seek no haven in my shadow, I will give you no hiding place down here. You, created only a little lower than The angels, have crouched too long in The bruising darkness Have lain too long Facedown in ignorance, Your mouths spilling words Armed for slaughter. The Rock cries out to us today, You may stand upon me, But do not hide your face.
Music: Learn Your Lessons Well from Godspell