Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
February 15, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 50, set as a scene from a court proceeding. That seems rather appropriate after watching the impeachment proceedings, doesn’t it!
Psalm 50 is written to evoke the imagery of trial in which God calls all Creation as witnesses.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,Psalm 50: 1
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
God expresses displeasure to the people about two specific things.
- The substance of their sacrifices:
Offer praise as your sacrifice to God;Psalm 50: 15-16
fulfill your vows to the Most High.
Then call on me on the day of distress;
I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.
2. Their blatant hypocrisy:
But to the wicked God says:Psalm 50: 17-18
“Why do you recite my commandments
and profess my covenant with your mouth?
You hate discipline;
you cast my words behind you!
in judgement, God requires a conversion in the people:
Now understand this, you who forget God,Psalm 50:23
lest I start ripping apart and there be no rescuer.
The psalm’s imagery was no doubt effective for its first listeners because they, like us, had witnessed many a court proceeding that was all about “law” but very little about justice. They recognized hypocrisy clothed in pretense, even in themselves.
God, on the other hand speaks clearly about truth and justice:
Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me;Psalm 50: 24
I will let him whose way is steadfast
look upon the salvation of God.
Praise is the prayer of a humble, aware, truthful, and obedient spirit. Our Gospel verse instructs us that we learn how to offer a sacrifice of praise by living in the pattern of Jesus:
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;John 14:6
no one comes to the Father except through me.
Poetry: Praise Song for the Day by ELIZABETH ALEXANDER
A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other’s eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere, with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice. A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin. We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of some one and then others, who said I need to see what’s on the other side. I know there’s something better down the road. We need to find a place where we are safe. We walk into that which we cannot yet see. Say it plain: that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices hey would then keep clean and work inside of. Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables. Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself, others by first do no harm or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love? Love beyond marital, filial, national, love that casts a widening pool of light, love with no need to pre-empt grievance. In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, any thing can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light.
Music: Total Praise – Richard Smallwood
I just love this hymn and this choir!
Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills Knowing my help is coming from You Your peace You give me in time of the storm You are the source of my strength You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to You You are the source of my strength You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to You Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen You are the source of my strength You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to You Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen