Fools?

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 
October 12, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 19:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
    and night to night imparts knowledge.
Not a word nor a discourse
    whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
    and to the ends of the world, their message.

Psalm 19:2-5

The psalm captures the point of Paul’s declaration that the natural revelation of God’s power is accessible to all of us in the magnificence of Creation.

For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what God has made.

Romans 2:19-20

This natural gift inspires us to know and believe in God. In fact, Paul says we “have no excuse” for a lack of faith, calling those who fail to believe “fools”.


It’s a word Jesus uses in our Gospel to describe Pharisaical religion – a religion of appearances rather than loving practice.

The Lord said, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?

Luke 11:39-40

In our first reading, Paul expresses his complete trust in and devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By this, Paul means more than the written words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He means the entire gift of the Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection, continuing among us in the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Today’s readings leave me with two intentions:

  • to be more deeply aware of and grateful for God speaking to me in my natural surroundings
  • to examine my heart for the sincerity of my faith proven in practice

Poetry: God’s Word Is in All Creation – Hildegard of Bingen

No creature has meaning
without the Word of God.
God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible.
The Word is living, being,
spirit, all verdant
all creativity.
This Word flashes out in
every creature.
This is how the spirit is in
the flesh – the Word is indivisible from God.

Music: For the Beauty of the Earth

Grace … God’s Life in Us

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 
October 11, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98

God has made salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations revealing justice.
God has remembered mercy and faithfulness
    toward God’s People.

Psalm 98: 2-3

Indeed God has made salvation known through the gift of Sacred Scripture. And I feel so enthused about the next month’s prayer because, also today, we begin about a month of readings from Paul’s letter to the Romans. (We will also continue with Luke’s Gospel all the way up to Advent.)

Like the rest of Sacred Scripture, which has God for its transcendent author, Paul’s Letter to the Romans has a spiritual and theological depth that is literally inexhaustible.

Scott W. Hahn: Romans

In praying with Romans, I am using a book by Scott W. Hahn, Father Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology at Steubenville University. In his introduction, Hahn says this:


Today’s reading offered me these elements to ponder and pray with:

  • Paul calls himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ
  • He invokes his call as an Apostle
  • He sets himself in the company of the prophets
  • He appeals to Jews who revere David
  • but proclaims Christ, through his Resurrection, as Messiah beyond human lineage
  • He proclaims his mission to the Gentiles
  • to bring about “the obedience of faith”

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve read or heard this passage maybe a hundred times in my lifetime, and it has meant little or nothing to me. At best, it has sounded like a formal introduction such as those we hear from government “whereas” type decrees.

But I took Dr. Hahn’s advice, studying the passage, and reading it slowly and prayerfully. Here’s what I received:

  • Paul’s Apostolic call, to which he willingly enslaved his heart, was to preach the Good News of our redemption in Jesus Christ – to preach it to Jews, Romans, Gentiles, and all people.
  • It is an awesomely incredible message that can be received only through the gift of faith.
  • It is a message rooted in the scripture stories we love, and where we look to find a reflection of our own life stories.
  • Learning from these realities will help us come to a faith which expresses itself in action and gives glory to God in our own time.


Luke gives us one such story today. Jesus reminds the crowd of two familiar passages – that of Jonah and the “Queen of the South” (the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10).

Jesus indicates that the people in these stories
believed without a sign.


Jesus tells the people gathered around him  to learn from this. The crowd demands a sign, but Jesus says the sign is right in front of you – it is only your open heart that is lacking.

In his introduction, Paul prays for such open hearts in the Romans:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

By that same grace, may we receive faith’s blessing as well.


Poetry: The Avowal – Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding GRACE.

Music: Grace and Peace – Fernando Ortega

My Dad’s Rosary

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary 
October 7, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 1, its very opening verses.

Blessed the one who follows not
    the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
    and meditates on God’s law day and night.

Psalm 1:1-3

Scripture scholar James L. Mays says that the psalm’s primacy is not accidental:

The Book of Psalms begins with a beatitude. Not a prayer or a hymn, but a statement about human existence. Here at the threshold of the Psalter we are asked to consider the teaching that the way life is lived is decisive for how it turns out. This opening beatitude also serves as an introduction to the book. Its location as the first psalm is not accidental; the psalm is there to invite us to read and use the entire book as a guide to a blessed life.

Psalms: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching

Psalm 1 helps us to understand that praying the Psalter is a tool for spiritual guidance. It is not just about the people and times it mentions. It is about us and our lifelong journey with God.

In a sense the rosary, which we think about today as we pray with Mary, is a similar tool. And I’ll be honest with you, it’s a tool I didn’t appreciate until much later in my life.


Most Catholics have a history with the rosary. It’s a form of prayer we learned as children at our grandmother’s or first grade teacher’s knee. But for me as a six-year old, it was just too long. I became bored mid-second decade. I even used to cheat, drop the rosary on the floor, and pick it up a few decades further down the beads!

Me – on the right! 🙂

Of course, as a young nun, I prayed the rosary. I even wore the rosary at my hip and fingered its cool beads throughout the day. But I still didn’t appreciate or love it. Not until I was 36 years old and my father died.

My Dad lived an extremely simple, and I think holy, life. He didn’t vow it, but he practiced the evangelical counsel of poverty beautifully. He possessed very little that was his alone. When he died, almost everything important and precious to him (besides his family) could be found in the bottom drawer of our old China closet. That’s where I found his rosary on the day after his funeral.


It was cuddled in a wrinkled pouch imprinted with the phrase “My Rosary”. I smiled when I read that, thinking one didn’t really need to be reminded what was inside! But there was actually more inside than I expected.

Dad always loved the poems of James Metcalfe, published daily in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. One little poem was folded neatly inside the pouch:


A Dad’s Prayer

Almighty Father help me be . . . 
A good and loving dad . . . 
That my dear children may enjoy . . . 
The blessings I have had . . . 
Give me the wisdom I should use . . . 
To teach them right from wrong . . . 
And how to keep on going when . . . 
The road is rough and long . . . 
To do the duty that is theirs . . . 
Until its very end . . . 
To look for lasting beauty and . . . 
Appreciate a friend . . . 
Endow me with the grace I need . . . 
To mold their gentle youth . . . 
According to the measurements . . . 
Of loyalty and truth . . . 
Enable me to comfort them . . . 
Whenever they are sad . . . 
And O my Father, grant that they . . . 
Will always love their dad. 


Every morning after I discovered Dad’s rosary, I ran the beads through my fingers, wanting in some way to touch Dad again.

I began to read about the rosary and its purpose as a means of meditation on the life of Christ. I began to pray it differently, slowly – eventually using the vocal prayers only as a rhythm underneath the thought of Jesus’s experiences.

Sometimes, rather than rushing through a decade as I had before, I couldn’t stay long enough to absorb all that Jesus or Mary chose to share with me in one of the rosary’s mysteries.


Maybe on this feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we might renew our love, understanding,and appreciation of this beautiful means of prayer. Online, I found this guide created by the Knights of Columbus which I liked. You might find it helpful. (I didn’t check, but I think it might be printable.)


Music: Verde by Guido and Mauricio deAngelis

(One of my Dad’s favorite pieces of music.)

Forgiveness

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time 
October 6, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 86 which, following our first reading about vindictive Jonah, shows us a heart converted to mercy.

These readings are so powerful. I think a little “Jonah” lives in most of us – that part of us that wants “them” to get what they deserve. We can’t quite get ourselves to want “them”, instead, to receive the unmerited mercy of God.

In our first reading, God tries to help stingy-hearted Jonah face his unforgiveness toward the Ninevites.

Our psalm, on the other hand, is prayed by a humble servant who understands forgiveness because they need it themselves.

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
    for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
    and attend to the sound of my pleading.

Psalm 86: 3-6

Psalm 86 invites us to grow in our spiritual life in two ways:

  • to recognize our need for forgiveness because we are not without sin
  • to extend that forgiving desire to those who have sinned against us

It is the lesson Jesus affirms in today’s Gospel:

Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say:
    Father, hallowed be your name,
        your Kingdom come.
        Give us each day our daily bread
        and forgive us our sins
        for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”


Poetry: Forgiveness – John Greenleaf Whittier

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

Music: Lord, Teach Us to Pray – Joe Wise

Lord, teach us to pray…

It’s been a long and cold December kind of day.
With our hearts and hands all busy in our private little wars.
We stand and watch each other now from separate shores.
We lose the way.

I need to know today the way things should be in my head.
I need to know for once now the things that should be said.
I’ve got to learn to walk around as if I were not dead.
I’ve got to find a way to learn to live. (Refrain)

I still get so distracted by the color of my skin.
I still get so upset now when I find that I don’t win.
I meet so many strangers—I’m slow to take them in.
I’ve got to find a way to really live. (Refrain)

I stand so safe and sterile as I watch a man fall flat.
I’m silent with a man who’d like to know just where I’m at.
With the aged and the lonely I can barely tip my hat.
I need to see the sin of “I don’t care.” (Refrain)

I stand so smug and sure before the people I’ve out-guessed.
To let a man be who he is I still see as a test.
And when it all comes down to “must,” I’m sure my way is best.
I’ve got to find what “room” means in my heart. (Refrain)

Lord, teach us to pray.
We believe that we can find a better way.
Teach us to pray. We lose the way.
Teach us to pray.

He Fell in Love with God

October 4, 2021
Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 16 whose words beautifully capture the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi:

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to God, “My Lord are you.”
O God, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

Psalm 16:1-2
Saint Francis by Sano DiPietro

Francis is among the most venerated Saints in Christianity. 

  • We are deeply moved by his utter embrace of poverty out of love for the poor.
  • We are inspired to reverence Creation by his love for all living things.
  • We are deepened in sacramental devotion by his dedication to Christ in the Eucharist.

But above all, Francis speaks to us because he was a person who fell completely in love with God. His way and his words encourage us toward the same kind of unconditional love.

I bless my God who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set God ever before me;
with God at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Psalm 16:7-8

Francis can teach us so much and companion us as we grow deeper in our love for God, Creation, and all our sisters and brothers.

We pray in blessing and gratitude today for all our Franciscan sisters and brothers who bless our time with the spirit of their beloved founder – especially for our wonderful Sisters of St. Francis in Aston, PA.


Poem-Prayer: Fall in Love – Pedro Arrupe, SJ

Nothing is more practical than finding God, 
than falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, 
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, 
stay in love,and it will decide everything.

Music: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace written by Sebastian Temple, sung by Susan Boyle

Blessing Our Children – 1

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 3, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 128 which offers us a tender blessing.  One of the most striking phrases of the blessing is “May you see your children’s children.”

Behold, thus is the one blessed
    who lives in awe of the LORD.
The LORD bless you:
    may you see the prosperity of heart
    all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children.
    Peace be upon you always!
May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

based on Psalm 128

Indeed, how grateful we are for the children in our families — no matter how old they are! What a gift to be renewed by their simplicity, openness, courage and dearness. 

My Three Nieces and Nephew about 2001

What a joy to watch these next generations rise to their adulthood in grace and honor. What a particular blessing to live to see their children claim a heritage of life and goodness.

My Great-nephews and Niece with their Uber Aunt, the young one on the left in the 2001 photo above!

How important it is to let our younger family and friends know how we love them, what great hope and joy we find in them, how grateful we are for them.  We should pray constantly for their life in the Spirit, for their strength in this shifting world, and for their friendship with God. We should be light for them, as our elders have been for us.

May we never take for granted what we have been given by the ones who come after us, who carry our hope and life into the future.

(In a separate post today, I offer a story you might enjoy about one way I tried to live by my own counsel in this regard.)


Poetry: Testament by Carolyn M. Rodgers

child, 
in the august of your life 
you come barefoot to me 
the blisters of events 
having worn through to the 
soles of your shoes.
it is not the time
this is not the time
there is no such time
to tell you
that some pains ease away
on the ebb & toll of
themselves.
there is no such dream that
can not fail, nor is hope our
only conquest.
we can stand boldly in burdening places (like earth here)
in our blunderings, our bloomings
our palms, flattened upward or pressed,
an unyielding down.

Music: – sung by the inimitable Bob Dylan, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature – a singer whom one either loves or hates. I hope you love his rendition of Forever Young.

Our Guardian Angels

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 91 from the readings for the Mass of the Guardian Angels – those magnificent beings who carry God’s Presence to us in every situation of our lives.

The Lord shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter
    and from the deadly pestilence. 
The wings of the Lord shall cover you, and you shall find refuge under them;
the faithfulness of God shall be a shield and buckler. 

Psalm 91:3-4

Maybe the only angels we ever think about are chubby little cherubs on Christmas cards. The cultural tendency to represent angels in that way diminishes the real power of these mighty and loving beings to inspire and guide us. Today might be a day to rethink our relationship with our Guardian Angels – to talk with them and to listen to the good things they tell us even without words.

Poem: Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou 

We, unaccustomed to courage,
exiles from delight,
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

Music: Angel’s Serenade – Gaetano Braga

God’s Two Great Books

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Thursday, September 30, 2021

St. Jerome in His Study by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Jerome is best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin
(the translation that became known as the Vulgate)
and his commentaries on the whole Bible. 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 19 which Charles Spurgeon, noted 19th century preacher, calls “the study of God’s two great books—nature and Scripture”.

Psalm 19 is a beautiful prayer for this time of year when nature erupts in unparalleled beauty. It is also perfect for this day when we celebrate Jerome who shaped our scriptures into the form we cherish today.

The psalm concludes with a wholehearted confession of faith and hope. It is a prayer all of us long to offer God in the sincerity of our hearts.


Scripture scholar James L. Mays notes that to comprehend this final expression of faith, we must pray with the whole psalm.

  • The psalm is divided into three parts
  • Creation’s testimony to the Creator (vv. 1–6),
  • the incomparable value of the law of the LORD (vv. 7–10), 
  • the human need for divine forgiveness and protection (vv. 11–13).

Two poems and a song captured the flow of my prayer today.

  1. As I pray the first part of the psalm , my spirit is opened to Creation’s power and beauty – an expression of God’s omnipotence and glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.
Day unto day pours forth speech;
night unto night whispers knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-3

To Autumn – William Blake

Motherhouse Front Lawn – Merion, PA
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

2. Praying the second part of Psalm 19, I think about the gift of the scriptures, and how I turn to them in all the seasons of my life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.

Psalm 19: 8-9

After Her Death – Mary Oliver

I am trying to find the lesson
for tomorrow. Matthew something.
Which lectionary? I have not
forgotten the Way, but, a little,
the way to the Way. The trees keep whispering
peace, peace, and the birds
in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are
content. They open their wings
so easily, and fly. It is still
possible.
           I open the book
which the strange, difficult, beautiful church
has given me. To Matthew. Anywhere.

And praying the third part of Psalm 19, I hear this hymn echoing in my spirit.

Only in God – John Michael Talbot

Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 138 which begins with the beautiful  verse:

I will praise You with my whole heart…

Abraham with the Three Angels – Rembrandt

As we celebrate the feast of the three great archangels, known to us by name because of their appearances in the Bible, we are invited to explore all the aspects of our spirituality – our whole heart.


As bodily beings, we might most often pray by using our senses:

  • with what we read and see with our eyes
  • with vocal prayer or soulful music
  • with the transporting aroma of incense
  • with the tactile assurance of a rosary over our fingertips

But we are also spiritual beings. There are dimensions of our experience that could never be put into words. There are melodies playing within us too profound to be rendered in notes.

There is a Presence within us beyond and greater than ourselves, breathed into us at our creation, and longing for the fulfillment of Heaven. Our human experience is like a shadow cast over time by the Great Light Who lives and loves in us.


The angels are beings released from that shadow. They completely dwell in and radiate the One Who breathed them forth in the fullness of Light. They are the ones who companion us to the wondrous edges of our own possibility –

as Raphael did for Tobit (Tobit 12:1-22)
as Michael did for Daniel (Daniel 10:13-21)
as Gabriel did for Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

These stories might inspire us today to speak and listen to our angels, one of whom is particularly charged to guide us.


Poetry: A Sonnet for St. Michael the Archangel – Malcolm Guite

Michaelmas gales assail the waning year,
And Michael’s scale is true, his blade is bright.
He strips dead leaves; and leaves the living clear
To flourish in the touch and reach of light.
Archangel bring your balance, help me turn
Upon this turning world with you and dance
In the Great Dance. Draw near, help me discern,
And trace the hidden grace in change and chance.
Angel of fire, Love’s fierce radiance,
Drive through the deep until the steep waves part,
Undo the dragon’s sinuous influence
And pierce the clotted darkness in my heart.
Unchain the child you find there, break the spell
And overthrow the tyrannies of Hell.

Music: Confitebor Tibi Domine – Francisco Valls

Psalmus 138Psalm 138
1 Confitebor tibi Domine in toto corde meo quoniam audisti verba oris mei in conspectu angelorum psallam tibi1 I will praise thee, O lord, with my whole heart: for thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise to thee in the sight of his angels:
2 Adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum et confitebor nomini tuo super misericordia tua et veritate tua quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen sanctum tuum2 I will worship towards thy holy temple, and I will give glory to thy name. For thy mercy, and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy holy name above all.
3 In quacumque die invocavero te exaudi me multiplicabis me in anima mea virtute3 In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me: thou shall multiply strength in my soul.
4 Confiteantur tibi Domine omnes reges terrae quia audierunt omnia verba oris tui4 May all the kings of the earth give glory to thee: for they have heard all the words of thy mouth.
5 Et cantent in viis Domini quoniam magna gloria Domini5 And let them sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 Quoniam excelsus Dominus et humilia respicit et alta a longe cognos cit6 For the Lord is high, and looketh on the low: and the high he knoweth afar off.
7 Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis vivificabis me super iram inimicorum meorum extendisti manum tuam et salvum me fecit dextera tua7 If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of my enemies: and thy right hand hath saved me.
8 Dominus retribuet propter me Domine misericordia tua in saeculum opera manuum tuarum ne dispicias8 The Lord will repay for me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: O despise not the work of thy hands

Cherished Destiny

September 28, 2021
Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 87, a Song of Zion which imagines the future Jerusalem as the world’s center of worship.

The foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!

Psalm 87: 1-3

For centuries, the Jews had been scattered through many alien countries. Some had lost their ties to their inherited faith. The psalm calls all people “home” to the worship of the one, true God.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives by Frederic Edwin Church

Jerusalem is a profoundly unifying symbol for Jews. That is why it is so important for Jesus to “go up to Jerusalem” in order to accomplish our redemption. As our Gospel tells us:

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he steadfastly turned his face to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:51

Praying with these passages may seem difficult for Christians if we have no emotional ties to the city of Jerusalem. But for us, Jerusalem serves as a symbol of that stable and committed faith which allows us to live our lives in the pattern of Jesus.

We journey too, as Jesus did toward the fullness of life in God. Our journey takes singular steadfastness, just as his did, a commitment rooted in faith and grace.

Together in faith, we form a New Jerusalem, glorious in each one of us through our Baptism into Christ.


Poetry: A Sonnet – Malcolm Guite

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus  come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

Music: Jerusalem, My Destiny – Rory Cooney