Friday of the Second Week of Lent
March 5, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 105. Together with our other readings, the psalm allows us to participate in Israel’s great family storytelling.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke God’s name;Psalm 105: 1-2
make known among the peoples God’s deeds!
Sing praise to the Lord, play music;
proclaim all the Lord’s wondrous deeds!
Psalm 105 is one of two historical psalms. (The other is Psalm 78.) Its verses summarize an amazing catalogue of God’s faithfulness to Israel and invites the listeners to grateful praise and unfettered hope.
Today’s particular passage is chosen because it recounts the same incidents as our first reading – the story of Joseph. And Joseph’s story prefigures Jesus’s own story which he offers in parable form in today’s Gospel.
When the LORD called down a famine on the landPsalm 105: 16-17
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
For us, the telling and re-telling
of relationship stories
is an important human rubric,
crowded Thanksgiving tables,
at relaxed summer reunions,
and at our inevitable bereavements.
Eventually, with enough retellings, a story becomes part of our family or friendship canon. Thence forward, it gains new dimension. Just like the canon of the Mass, whose formula becomes beautifully rote to us, the story now may be endlessly repeated without being exhausted. In its retelling, it always reveals something new and confirms something old.
Seek out the LORD and the Lord’s might;Psalm 105: 4-5
constantly seek God’s face.
Recall the wondrous deeds God has done
for you and your beloved ones
In fact, such a story becomes a kind of sacrament, carrying within it the mysterious and unwordable blessings of what it means to live, love, die, and believe.
Each human story is, in some form, a re-enactment of Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. The faith, courage, humor, pathos, genius and serendipity of our lives carry the graces to make us holy, to make us Love as Jesus was Love.
When we gratefully retell the history of those graces – as Psalm 105 does today – we practice a powerful ritual of faith. By such liturgy, we are invited to the same grateful praise and unfettered hope as we meet in Psalm 105.
The LORD, is our GodPsalm 105: 8-9
whose judgments reach through all the earth.
Who remembers forever the covenant,
the word commanded for a thousand generations.
Poetry: The Storyteller – Mike Jones
I’m a teller of tales, a spinner of yarns, A weaver of dreams and a liar. I’ll teach you some stories to tell to your friends, While sitting at home by the fire. You may not believe everything that I say But there’s one thing I’ll tell you that’s true For my stories were given as presents to me And now they are my gifts to you. My stories are as old as the mountains and rivers That flow through the land they were born in They were told in the homes of peasants in rags And kings with fine clothes adorning. There’s no need for silver or gold in great store For a tale becomes richer with telling And as long as each listener has a pair of good ears It matters not where they are dwelling. A story well told can lift up your hearts And help you forget all your sorrows It can give you the strength and the courage to stand And face all your troubles tomorrow. For there’s wisdom and wit, beauty and charm There’s laughter and sometimes there’s tears But when the story is over and the spell it is broken You’ll find that there’s nothing to fear My stories were learned in my grandparent’s home Where their grandparents also had heard them They were given as payment by travelling folk For a warm place to lay down their burdens My stories are ageless, they never grow old With each telling they are born anew And when my story is ended, I’ll still be alive In the tales that I’ve given to you.
Music: The Story I’ll Tell – Morgan Harper Nichols