Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 30, 2022
Blessed are they who are persecuted
for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
( Dear Friends, I have just come home from the funeral of one of our Sisters – a beloved, holy, humble human being – full of love, generosity and joy. I would love to offer today’s reflection based on the power of her Home-Going Ceremony. But I need more time to let that brew in my heart. So, since I am running quite late, I am offering an edited reflection from two years ago for today’s reflection. But, trust me, you will be hearing soon about the miracle of Sister Margery Lowry.)
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jeremiah and John the Baptist are living out the meaning.of Psalm 69.
Each of these great prophets has been ensnared by the civic evil of their times, personified in Old Testament princes and New Testament Herod and Herodias. The power structure surrounding each prophet stood in direct contradiction to their witness to God’s Word. Those structures, when confronted with a sacred truth, tried to overwhelm the messenger, like quicksand swallows an innocent traveler.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
Psalm 69 raises to our prayer the reality that such struggles continue in our time. We live in a wonderful but still sinful world where every person decides, everyday, where he or she will stand in the contest between good and evil.
The decision is sometimes very clear. At other times, the waters are so muddied with lies, propaganda, greed, fear, bias. and unexamined privilege that we feel mired in confusion or resistance.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69 throws us a rescue line in today’s final verse:
See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds God spurns not.
The steady path to truth lies with those who seek God among the humble and poor. The humble are the ones through whom the Lord speaks. They are God’s own. Jeremiah and the Baptist understood this truth and preached it by their lives.
We might examine our lives today in the light of their witness and the message of this challenging psalm.
Poetry: Beginners – Denise Levertov
‘From too much love of living, Hope and desire set free, Even the weariest river Winds somewhere to the sea—‘ But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope? —so much is in bud. How can desire fail? —we have only begun to imagine justice and mercy, only begun to envision how it might be to live as siblings with beast and flower, not as oppressors. Surely our river cannot already be hastening into the sea of nonbeing? Surely it cannot drag, in the silt, all that is innocent? Not yet, not yet— there is too much broken that must be mended, too much hurt we have done to each other that cannot yet be forgiven. We have only begun to know the power that is in us if we would join our solitudes in the communion of struggle. So much is unfolding that must complete its gesture, so much is in bud.
Music: The Cry of the Poor – John Foley, SJ