Easter Tuesday: He Knows My Name

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

April 6, 2021

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni” 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 33 which connects two powerful readings from Acts and John’s Gospel.

Acts describes for us a gathered crowd which, upon Peter’s inspired preaching, become a repentant, converting community. Peter speaks a word that changes them. They are struck through to their core by the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice for them.

Now when they heard (Peter’s preaching),
they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”

Acts 2:37

In our Gospel, a bereaved Mary Magdalene’s heart is cut as well – with sorrow, confusion, and grief. But in that moment when Jesus simply speaks her name, she is awakened, healed, and energized.


What Word is it that our heart longs for today as we pray? What healing, light, and conversion do these readings hold for us as we open our hearts to Easter grace? 

We, too, like Peter’s congregation, have come to hear a Word that transforms us. We, too, like Mary have been waiting in Hope outside the tomb. As we pray today’s scriptures, let’s listen for our name.


Our soul waits for the LORD,
    who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
    who have put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20,22

Poetry: Say My Name – Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi

It is a good day to think about how important one’s name is to them, especially as it expresses our spiritual, familial and cultural rootedness. Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi is a proud Black/Indigenous, Pasifika and West Asian writer. She is from Murray (Mer) Island, from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes.

My name was my name before
                            I walked among the living
               before I could breathe
               before I had lungs to fill
before my great grandmother passed
               and everyone was left to grieve

My name was birthed from a dream
               A whisper from gods to a king
               A shout into the stars that produced
                             another that shone as bright
They held me without being burnt, humming lullabies in pidgin

My name was passed down from my
               ancestors
They acknowledged my roots grew in two
               places
So, they ripped my name from the ocean
               and mixed it into the bloodlines of my totems

My name has survived the destruction of worlds
and the genocidal rebirthing of so-called ones
It’s escaped the overwhelmed jaw of the death bringer
               Many a time
It has survived the conflicts that resulted in my gods,
               from both lands, knowing me as kin,
but noticing that I am painfully unrecognisable and lost
They are incapable of understanding
               the foreign tongue that was forced on me

My name has escaped cyclones and their daughters
It has been blessed by the dead
As they mixed dirt, salt and liquid red,
               into my flesh
My name is the definition of resilience
It is a warrior that manifested because of warriors

So, excuse me as I roll my eyes or sigh as you
mispronounce my name
               over and over again
Or when you give me another
               that dishonours my mother and father
That doesn’t acknowledge my lineage to my island home
or the scents of rainforest and ocean foam
You will not stand here on stolen land
               and whitewash my name
For it is two words intertwined
               holding as much power as a hurricane
Say it right or don’t say it at all
For I am Meleika
               I will answer when you call


Music: You Know My Name – Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

(You may come upon an ad in the middle of today’s music — because it is rather long. Just clip the “Skip Ads” after a few seconds and you’ll get back to the choir)

Psalm 19: The Law

Third Sunday of Lent

March 7, 2021


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

Those of you who click through to our daily readings on the USCCB website may notice that two sets of readings are offered for this 3rd Sunday in Lent. The alternative set is for a Mass which incorporates “The Scrutinies”.

“The Scrutinies” are part of the process of admitting adults into the Catholic Church which typically takes place throughout Lent and culminates in Easter Baptism. 

There are several steps in the admission process beginning with discernment and in-depth education. The Scrutinies occur near the end, during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent. As the name indicates, these exercises have us look deep into our hearts and souls for the healing and forgiveness we need in faith.


However, most of us attending this Sunday’s liturgy will hear the Year B readings which center on LAW and how our developing faith understands it.


For the ancient Israelites, as Exodus tells us, that understanding took the form of a specified discipline in the Ten Commandments.

For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness 
on the children of those who reproach me …

Exodus 20:5

In our second reading, Paul preaches a new understanding of Law – the Law of Sacrificial Love revealed in the sacred contradiction of Cross.

… but we proclaim Christ crucified, 
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, 
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1: 23-25

And in our Gospel, Jesus confronts those whose faith is hardened against the new Law which he embodies:

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, 
many began to believe in his name 
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

John 2:23-25

Our psalm offers us an opportunity to “scrutinize” the sincerity of this prayer in our own hearts:


Poetry: As Kingfishers Catch Fire Gerard Manley Hopkins sees the law as acting in God’s eye…

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves–goes itself; _myself_ it speaks and spells,
Crying _Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is–
Chríst–for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Music: The Law of the Lord is Perfect

Psalm 103: #BeLike

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

March 6, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103, an effusive canticle on God’s unbounded Mercy.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
    and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits.
He pardons all your iniquities,
    he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
    he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

Psalm 103:1-4

A sufficient prayer today would be to thank God for our experiences of this overflowing mercy. But our Gospel tells us there is more to it. There is a response required of us.


If you’re into social media like Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed the popular meme “BeLike”.  (A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that becomes a fad and spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture, often carrying a symbolic meaning.) Here is an example of the  #BeLike meme posted by the NJ State Police.


If our psalmist and evangelist were writing a meme for today’s readings, it might look like this:


That’s the message.
I’m spending my prayer time with just that today.


Poetry: The Prodigal’s Mother Speaks to God by Allison Frank

When he returned a second time,
the straps of his sandals broken,
his robe stained with wine,

it was not as easy to forgive.

By then his father
was long gone himself,
leaving me with my other son, the sullen one
whose anger is the instrument he tunes
from good morning on.

I know.

There’s no room for a man
in the womb.

But when I saw my youngest coming from far off,
so small he seemed, a kid
unsteady on its legs.

She-goat
what will you do? I thought,
remembering when he learned to walk.

Shape shifter! It’s like looking through water—
the heat bends, it blurs everything: brush, precipice.

A shambles between us.

Music: Father, I Have Sinned – Eugene O’Reilly

Psalm 105: Tell the Story

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;
make known among the peoples God’s deeds!
Sing praise to the Lord, play music;
proclaim all the Lord’s wondrous deeds!

Psalm 105: 1-2

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 land
    and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
    Joseph, sold as a slave.

Psalm 105: 16-17

For us, the telling and re-telling
of relationship stories
is an important human rubric,
practiced at
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;
constantly seek God’s face.
Recall the wondrous deeds God has done
for you and your beloved ones

Psalm 105: 4-5

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 God
whose judgments reach through all the earth.
Who remembers forever the covenant,
the word commanded for a thousand generations.

Psalm 105: 8-9

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 

Psalm 31: The Plot

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 3, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 31 which expresses a pleading reflective of our first powerful reading from Jeremiah.

Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
… let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.

Jeremiah 18:18

This verse (18:18) is the pivotal turning point where everything goes south for Jeremiah. The Israelite power structure really didn’t want to hear what Jeremiah was telling them. He pins their troubles – the destruction the Temple and Babylonian Captivity – on one thing: their faithlessness to the Covenant with Yahweh.


Jeremiah is an archetype of the condemned prophet whom we meet in Jesus. Today’s Gospel reveals the same pivotal turning point for Jesus:

We are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.

Matthew 20:18-19

They told the Truth – that we must continually discern God’s Word for our lives, always seeking love, mercy and justice. Few had the courage to listen. Most chose sinful resistance.

The suffering prophet has only one recourse when “hearing the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.” Psalm 31:14

That recourse is complete and trusting surrender to God. Psalm 31 reveals this surrender in a verse Jesus ultimately prays from the Cross:

Into your hands I commend my spirit;
    you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.

Psalm 31:6

Lent calls us to the message of Jeremiah and Jesus – to examine our lives in light of love, mercy and justice. Let us pray in the spirit of Jesus today to be open to Truth in our own lives and to build Truth in our communities.


Poetry: The Paradox by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The poem carries a tone similar to sorrowful Jeremiah’s poetry.

I am the mother of sorrows,
I am the ender of grief;
I am the bud and the blossom,
I am the late-falling leaf.

I am thy priest and thy poet,
I am thy serf and thy king;
I cure the tears of the heartsick,
When I come near they shall sing.

White are my hands as the snowdrop;
Swart are my fingers as clay;
Dark is my frown as the midnight,
Fair is my brow as the day.

Battle and war are my minions,
Doing my will as divine;
I am the calmer of passions,
Peace is a nursling of mine.

Speak to me gently or curse me,
Seek me or fly from my sight;
I am thy fool in the morning,
Thou art my slave in the night.

Down to the grave will I take thee,
Out from the noise of the strife;
Then shalt thou see me and know me–
Death, then, no longer, but life.

Then shalt thou sing at my coming.
Kiss me with passionate breath,
Clasp me and smile to have thought me
Aught save the foeman of Death.

Come to me, brother, when weary,
Come when thy lonely heart swells;
I ‘ll guide thy footsteps and lead thee
Down where the Dream Woman dwells.

Music: Symphony No.1 – Jeremiah by Leonard Bernstein 

Summary: an excellent introduction to this symphony

Entire Symphony:

Psalm 116: Listen!

Second Sunday of Lent

February 28, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 116 which Pope John Paul II called “A Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Lord”.

Praying the psalm today, in the context of our other Sunday readings, leads us deeper into the nature of that “thanksgiving” and its relationship to sacrifice.

Abraham and Isaac by Rembrandt

In our first reading, we meet Abraham, full of thanks that God reconsidered the command to sacrifice his dear son.


But then our second reading expresses thanks that God was willing to sacrifice his own Son for our sakes.

The Transfiguration by Titian

Finally, our Gospel takes us to the Transfiguration where that Son who will be sacrificed is revealed in his true glory.

What is the thread binding these readings? I think it can be found in this Gospel verse:

This is my beloved Son.  
Listen to him.

True listening is obedience. The words come from the same root: obedience = listen to,” from ob “to” + audire “listen, hear”.

  • Abraham listens, no matter how hard, and finally hears God’s real command to love.
  • Jesus listens to the Will of the Father even through his suffering, and is led to Resurrection.
  • We, like Peter, James and John, are called to listen to Jesus who will transfigure our perceptions about what life is really calling us to.

In each case, intent “obedience” allows the listener to hear and see beneath circumstances to the deeper Grace beyond appearances. Deep spiritual listening transfigures us!

This is the whole point of the spiritual life. Our lives are so much more than mere circumstances or appearance. Our psalm calls us to believe this even in difficulty:

I believed, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted.”
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.

Psalm 116:10

When we do this, we are freed to engage our lives at the level of God’s Will which is always for our good, which is always from Love. The long tradition of faith, learned from our forbearers, assures us of this:

O LORD, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the child of your faithful ones;
    you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalm 116:16-17

Some of us go through life continually angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed by our challenges. Others, experiencing similar or even greater challenges, reflect a spirit of joy, peace, and gratitude. Why is that? I think today’s readings give us a big clue. Let’s listen to them!


Poetry: Story of Isaac, written and chanted by the bard Leonard Cohen who also wrote the currently popular “Hallelujah “.


Music: Psalm 116: Steve Green

Lyrics

I love the Lord, He heard my voice
He heard my voice. He heard my voice
He heard my cry for mercy
Because He has turned His ear to me
I will call (I will call)
I will call (I will call)
I will call on the Lord for as long as I live

I love the Lord, He heard my voice
He heard my voice. He heard my voice
He heard my cry
I love the Lord, He heard my voice
He heard my voice. He heard my voice
He heard my cry for mercy
He heard my cry for mercy

Psalm 34: Together

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

February 23, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 34, thought to be a young David’s thanksgiving prayer after God saved him from one of his many dangerous escapades.

In telling his deliverance story, David invites his friends to celebrate with him and to learn the faith-lesson he has learned:

Glorify the LORD with me,
    let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears. 


I picture myself sitting in David’s audience, absorbing the words of his prayer. This line strikes me:

The LORD has eyes for the just,
    and ears for their cry.

Ah, the Lord has eyes for me….for ME! It conjures up sounds of The Flamingos, doesn’t it? (Sorry for the transcriber’s misspelling 😀)

Most of us want to think that we are individually special to God. This desire is at the core of the Protestant Evangelical model, “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”. But for some, this model has become confused with a prosperity gospel that is quite misleading.

The only prosperity we should seek from God is the gift of grace because:

Yahweh’s peculiar inclinations are with the broken-hearted and the ones with crushed spirit. That is, Yahweh’s solidarity is not with the ones who go from success to success, but the ones denied success.

Walter Brueggemann The Message of the Psalms A Theological Commentary Ausberg Publishing House 1984

Still, such a personal relationship is not alien to a full and complete faith:

Faith is above all a personal, intimate encounter with Jesus, and to experience his closeness, his friendship, his love; only in this way does one learn to know him ever more, and to love and follow him ever more. May this happen to each one of us.

Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 2009

(Look for an extra prayer about “The Eye of God” in another post today.)


However, our psalm alerts us that this deeply personal dimension is only part of relationship with God.

When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
    and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
   and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

To be seen and heard by God, one must be part of the just community. To be close to God, one must feel the brokenheartedness of the poor. We come to the psalmist’s exuberant praise only by walking with suffering, either in our own lives, or beside others who bear distress.

From all their distress
God rescues the just.

Psalm 34 teaches us that our personal relationship with God is interdependent with our relationship with the whole community. David calls his community to share in his praise-song because they- together -recognize God’s mercy and share it in concern for one another.

The LORD has eyes for the just,
    and ears for their cry.


Our Gospel today confirms that a personal love for God thrives only within a communal love. The prayer Jesus shares is not “My Father”. It is “Our Father”. We come to the depths of God’s merciful heart with our sisters and brothers.


Poetry: An Inclusive Lord’s Prayer – Author unknown

Loving God, 
in whom is heaven, 
may Your name be honored everywhere.
May Your Mercy reign.
May the desire of Your heart for the world 
be done, 
in us, by us and through us.
Give us each and all
the bread we need for the day.
Forgive us.
Free us to forgive others.
Keep us from all anxiety, fear, and selfishness.
For You reign in the power that comes from love 
which is Your glory
forever and ever.
Amen.

Music: Our Father – Joe Wise

Psalm 147: Brokenhearted?

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 7, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 147 which invites us to:

Praise the LORD, for he is good;
    sing praise to our God, Who is gracious;
    Whom it is fitting to praise.

It is a psalm for the left-brained who, like Job in our first reading, might need some explanation about just why we should praise when life seems so unpraiseworthy at times!

Job spoke, saying:
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
    Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
    a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
    and troubled nights have been allotted to me.

Job 7: 1-4

Job, like many of us when we suffer, feels crushed under life’s burdens. However, an extended reading of the Book of Job reveals that humility and repentance allow Job to “see God”, and to rediscover the richness and flavor of his life.

Calling us to the same kind of awareness, Psalm 147 presents a series of reasons for praising God, including God’s continual attention to the city of Jerusalem, to brokenhearted and injured individuals, to the cosmos, and to nature.

For me, the most moving of these reasons comes in verse 3:

The Lord heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
The Lord tells the number of the stars;
    calling each by name.


This is a beautiful picture of our infinitely compassionate God who is able to recognize our broken-heartedness. 

This loving God, who knows the stars by name, knows us as well. We, like Job, begin to heal within the divine lullaby God patiently sings over our broken hearts.

Jesus is that Healing Song, the Word hummed over the world by the merciful Creator. In today’s Gospel, we see that Melody poured out over the suffering:

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Mark 1: 32-34

As we pray today,

let us hear God’s song of mercy
being sung over all Creation.
Let us rest our own brokenness
there in its compassionate chords.
Let us bring the world’s pain to our prayer.

Poetry: A Cure Of Souls by Denise Levertov

The pastor
of grief and dreams
guides his flock towards
the next field
with all his care.
He has heard
the bell tolling
but the sheep
are hungry and need
the grass, today and
every day. Beautiful
his patience, his long
shadow, the rippling
sound of the flocks moving
along the valley.

Music: God Heals My Broken Heart – Patty Felker

If Job were singing his sadness today, it might sound like this song.

Psalm: The Benedictus

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

January 30, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Responsorial Psalm is the glorious Benedictus which is one of the three canticles in Luke’s first two chapters, the other two being the “Magnificat” and the “Nunc Dimittis”. The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist.

Rembrandt: The Circumcision of John

Can you imagine Zechariah that morning, holding his little boy, eight days old? This unexpected, miraculous child would be named in a ceremony marking the ancient covenant between God and God’s People.

The little group gathered for the ritual expected the name to be an honorary repetition, probably his grandfather’s name. Instead, it is a name delivered by an angel: John, which means “Yahweh has shown favor,” — announcing John’s role in salvation history.

When Zechariah, still struck deaf and mute, indicates his agreement with Elizabeth on John’s name, his tongue is loosed. He immediately praises God and proclaims a framework for the miracles about to come – the Benedictus.

Praying with this Canticle this morning, I treasure its lovely phrases and its succinct recounting of Israel’s “God Story” even as it reflects my own.


Prose: This past Advent, one of our Sisters of Mercy offered a profound reflection on Zechariah’s song. It blessed my prayer once again today.

from Sisters of Mercy Blog

Music: Benedictus – Karl Jenkins

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
He has raised up a horn for our salvation
within the house of David his servant,
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers
and to be mindful of his holy covenant
7and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
and to grant us that, rescued from the hand of enemies,
without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high* will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”



Psalm 105: Wondrous Deeds

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

January 13, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 105 celebrating God’s covenanted faithfulness to us.

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke God’s name;
    make known among the nations God’s deeds.
Sing, sing God’s praise,
    proclaim all God’s wondrous deeds.
(because…) The Lord remembers the covenant for ever.

Psalm 105: 1-2, 8

We certainly can spend some time in prayer today remembering God’s faithfulness to us personally. A grateful review of our life journey can always offer new insights into God’s love and generosity.

But more specifically, our psalm calls us to plumb the two readings which it connects.

  • Hebrews reminds us that God’s love is so extreme that God took Flesh in Jesus to teach us, in terms we could understand, the degree of God’s love.
  • In Mark, we see the early expression of that love, as Jesus reveals his healing power to the wretchedly suffering crowds.

In these readings, we learn that God’s promise endures to each generation:

God remembers the covenant forever
    which was made binding for a thousand generations– 
Which was entered into with Abraham
    and by God’s oath to Isaac.

Psalm 105: 8

In Chronos Time, this enduring covenant was enfleshed in Jesus. It continues in Kairos Time through each person’s Baptism into Christ through the Holy Spirit.

In other words,
we are the agents of God’s covenant with the world. Our lives must enflesh God’s Mercy for our times.

In his letter to Titus, Paul puts this clearly:

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, we were saved not because of righteous things we had done, but because of God’s mercy. God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by God’s grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  

Titus 3: 4-7

May the message of these readings free us,
inspire us, and impel us
to a grace-filled response.


Poetry: Grace by Jill Peláez Baumgartner

Is it the transparency
and lift of air?
Is it release
as when the pebble
flings out of the slingshot
or the tethered dog
suddenly is without lead?

Or is it more like standing
on a dark beach
at midnight,
the surf loud
with its own revolution,
the horizon invisible,
the entire world the threat
of rushing water?

No one who swims 
at night in the ocean
feels weightless
embracing armfuls of water
against the ballast
of the waves’ fight.

Swimming:
toward the shore lights
or out into the vast bed
of the sea's white fires?

Music: Confitemini Domino – Psalm 105 – Orlando di Lasso (first published in 1562)

Confitemini Domino et invocate nomen ejus,

annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus,

cantate ei et psallite ei.

Narrate omnia mirabilia ejus,

laudamini in nomine sancto ejus,

laetetur cor quaerentium Dominum.

Give glory to the Lord, and call upon his name,

declare his deeds among the Gentiles,

sing to him, yea sing praises to him.

Relate all his wondrous works,

Glory ye in his holy name,

let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.