Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
November 23, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Responsorial Verse captures the essence of all the readings:
It’s one of those scripture passages that makes one want to say, “Oh, really? Is that all?”
Because, you know, it’s a pretty tall order to remain faithful until death. Sometimes it’s a real pinch to remain faithful for a week!
Remember that exercise bike you bought in January 2020? Yeah, that one with your yoga pants, umbrella, and assorted tote bags hanging on it.
Or what about that South Beach diet book you’re using to prop open the closet door? How did all that faithfulness work out?
So, given our very human condition, what is the “faithfulness” these readings enjoin?
Rather, it tries. When it does fail, it believes in and seeks forgiveness. It trusts, even in its weakness. It is grateful, abiding, and loving. It is not afraid to begin again and again, because our faithfulness depends on God’s mercy not our strength.
When we were young nuns making our final vows, this phrase was part of our commitment:
“… and to persevere, until death …”
One of our wise leaders, Mother Bernard, told us, “Don’t pray for final perseverance. Pray to be worthy of it.”
I think we become worthy of perseverance by that trusting faithfulness which turns again and again into Mercy’s waiting, understanding arms. It is a faithfulness that fully believes these words from the Book of Lamentations:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;Lamentations 3: 22-23
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
so great is your faithfulness.
Poetry: What God Hath Promised – Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932) was born in Vineland, NJ. Incapacitated by severe arthritis, she started composing religious poetry, and became “a renowned writer across the Christian world.” Her popular poems include He Giveth More Grace and Christmas Carols, which were published in Christian Endeavour World and Sunday School Times. (Wikipedia)
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
Music: Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Westminster Abbey
This is probably not the most perfect rendition of this beautiful hymn, but I just love seeing all these various people singing their praise. Imagine all of the stories and histories of faith woven through this worshipping congregation — and each one of them grateful for God’s faithfulness. As Catherine McAuley would say, “Oh what a joy even to think of it!”