Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, June 23, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 19, a testament to God’s Word as living and real in our lives. This psalm foreshadows the beautiful words from John’s Gospel.

Our first reading recounts God’s presentation of the Ten Commandments on Sinai. This code was the basic framework for the community’s response to God’s gift of relationship. God was saying, “Here’s what I need from you to make this thing work.”

Psalm 19 shows us that even though this “Law” was “carved in stone”, it was lived in the hearts of the faithful. It was dynamic, required nuance and interpretation, needed human engagement to fully come to life.

In other words, the “Law” had to live, come off the stone, and into hearts.


When this happens, we grow in the essence of “law”, which is love, reverence, mutuality, and generosity. We experience God’s Word as gift and delight. We long to learn more perfectly what, in our choices and actions, can bring us closer to God.

Then the law becomes, as Psalm 19 tells us:

  • perfect, refreshing the soul
  • trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple
  • right, rejoicing the heart
  • clear, enlightening the eye.
  • pure, enduring forever;
  • true,
  • just
  • more precious than gold
  • sweeter also than syrup
  • or honey from the comb.

We all know people who claim to live by a static, lifeless but recite-able law. They can readily quote some out-of-context scripture to judge, reprimand, or condemn. It’s sad because the Word has died in them.

The Law of Love grows in the rich soil of today’s Gospel. It meets life with an honest, open, and loving spirit to find the unique adventure of grace God wants for each of us.

Pope Francis, when speaking of the Law, said this:

Our God is the God of nearness, a God who is near, who walks with his people. That image in the desert, in Exodus: the cloud and the pillar of fire to protect the people: He walks with his people. He is not a God who leaves the written prescriptions and says, “Go ahead.” He makes the prescriptions, writes them with his own hands on the stone, gives them to Moses, hands them to Moses, but does not leave the prescriptions and leaves: He walks, He is close. “Which nation has such a close God?” It’s the nearness. Ours is a God of nearness.


Poetry: What is the Root? – Hafiz

What
Is the
Root of all these
Words?

One thing: love.
But a love so deep and sweet
It needed to express itself
With scents, sounds, colors
That never before
Existed.

Music: Your Word is Life to Me – Travis Cottrell

I am a stranger in this place

This world is not my home

I want more than it can give

I am a desert needing rain

I’m thirsty for Your voice

The very reason that I live

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

Only the power of Your Word

Can melt away these chains

That have held me far too long

So light the fire and let it burn

These shackles and restraints

And I will sing this freedom song

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

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