Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 28, 2020
I realized that I have never written a reflection on this Sunday’s readings. Here is a link to a wonderful weekly reflection by a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondolet from the National Catholic Reporter.
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 89, as we did last week, but this time with earlier verses.
Psalm 89 is long and complex. It is significant to an overall understanding of the Book of Psalms because within 89 the entire cycle of Israel’s prayer life is reflected.
How we pray depends on how we see God. In our lives, as in Israel’s, external circumstances can shape that perception of God.
How we feel physically, mentally; how we love and are loved; whether we are afraid or secure; how we succeed or fail – these and so many other realities put a face on God for us.
Psalm 89 reflects a time of oppression and confusion in Israel’s life. They had been flying high when David built the Temple. Its presence confirmed for them the truth of God’s promise to Abraham. But now, the Temple lay in ruins and the people enslaved in a foreign land. What did all that say about God and God’s Promise? What had happened to the loving face of God?
Contrary to expectation, the psalmist does not begin to pray from a position of lament or complaint. Instead, Psalm 89 begins by remembering and blessing “the good times”.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever,
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever;”
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
It’s like Israel is sitting down beside God and saying, “You know, times are rough right now. But You’ve always been good to me, and I won’t forget that no matter what. So show me where You are taking me in these present circumstances.”
Reminds me of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well.
What a great way to begin a sorrowful prayer! Such an attitude opens our heart to God’s ever-present Mercy which will come to us — disguised even in our sorrow.
The saints among us never give up on God – and we are all called to be saints. Psalm 89 helps us understand how God is with us and we can be with God even when our specific “prayers” seemed ignored or rejected.
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your Face, O LORD, they walk.
Poetry: A Psalm of Life – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
For me, the poem voices Longfellow’s philosophy for dealing with adversity which is primarily self-reliance and bravado. I think prayer is a good deal more effective!😃
“A Psalm of Life” became a popular and oft-quoted poem, such that Longfellow biographer Charles Calhoun noted it had risen beyond being a poem and into a cultural artifact…
Calhoun also notes that “A Psalm of Life” has become one of the most frequently memorized and most ridiculed of English poems, with an ending reflecting “Victorian cheeriness at its worst”. Modern critics have dismissed its “sugar-coated pill” promoting a false sense of security…
Nevertheless, Longfellow scholar Robert L. Gale referred to “A Psalm of Life” as “the most popular poem ever written in English”.
And, besides, I like it.🤓 Hope you all do.
A Psalm of Life Henry Wadsworth Longfellow What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist Tell me not in mournful numbers Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art to dust returnest Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment and not sorrow Is our destined end or way; But to act that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long and Time is fleeting And our hearts though stout and brave Still like muffled drums are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle In the bivouac of Life Be not like dumb driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act, — act in the living Present! Heart within and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime And departing leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints that perhaps another Sailing o'er life's solemn main A forlorn and shipwrecked brother Seeing shall take heart again. Let us then be up and doing With a heart for any fate; Still achieving still pursuing Learn to labor and to wait.
Music: Show Me Your Face – Don Potter