Wed, 27 January 2016
(2Sm.7:18-19,24-29; Ps.132:1-2,3-5,11-14,Lk.1:32; Mk.4:21-25)
“If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them,
their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne.”
Yes, “the Lord has chosen Zion; He prefers her for His dwelling.” His blessings are upon His Church and its people, for “the Lord swore to David a firm promise from which He will not withdraw: ‘Your own offspring I will set upon your throne,’” and Jesus completes that promise by establishing the New Jerusalem in His Name. But we must exhibit the “anxious care” David has shown for the preservation and promotion of the house which is ours through this Son of David and fulfillment of God’s promise.
If “the eye is the lamp of the body,” as Jesus has said elsewhere in the gospels (Mt.6:22), then we must say with David: “I will give my eyes no sleep, my eyelids no rest, till I find a place for the Lord.” Always our light should be shining forth; always we should be looking to “make our call and election permanent” (as Peter has elsewhere stated – 2Pt.1:10) – always we must seek to serve Him, if ever we wish to dwell with Him. For as Jesus says so poignantly to the crowd today: “Is a lamp acquired to be put under a bushel basket or hidden under a bed? Is it not meant to be put on a stand?” Thus He encourages us to bring our light “out into the open,” to let it shine forth for all to see. For then it shall be blessed.
“Listen carefully” now to what the Lord says further: “In the measure you give you shall receive.” Here is a golden rule which must be understood and practiced. For it is so that the more we share the gifts the Lord places in our hearts and at our hands, the greater these blessings grow. As we share our faith, more faithful do we become. As we speak of Him, the more do we understand of Him. In giving ourselves away for others and the sake of the kingdom, we find ourselves present in His light. And so do we grow. And so is our place in His house assured. And so we shall dwell with Him forever.
Let us pray with David in our first reading, brothers and sisters: “Bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever,” that what the Lord has promised each of us through the Son of David may come to light. As David simply asks the Lord to accomplish what He has graciously vowed to do – “Confirm for all time the prophecy you have made concerning your servant and his house” – let us beg the Lord to grant the same to His Church for the salvation of all souls who worship Him in truth and serve Him in strength. Alleluia.
O LORD, dwell in us as you have promised
that we might shine your light forth.
YHWH, who are we that you bless us with a place in your kingdom, that you shine your eternal light in our eyes? How can we know you, how can we even approach you, we who are but useless servants….? And yet you make us your sons. Let us cherish the blessing you give us and shine the light you provide.
Your House is a house for all peoples, LORD, and all peoples you would draw into your sanctuary. The promise you made to David comes to us all through the Son you place upon his throne. Now that Jesus is with us, help us to be as generous as you and serve to extend your blessing to all men. O what a blessing it is to share your love with others! Let us not be afraid or hide your light away.
All we have let us give, O LORD, for all we have is a gift from you and it is increased only when we give it to others. May all come into your presence.
Sun, 10 January 2016
(1Sm.1:1-8; Ps.116:12-19; Mk.1:14-20)
“Hannah was childless.”
And so she would “weep and refuse to eat,” for it was “a constant reproach to her that the Lord had left her barren.”
But He will not leave her barren long. Her husband’s love for her despite her condition and her own prayers will soon be answered: she will give birth to the great prophet and priest, Samuel, who will anoint kings in Israel.
And her song of joy, which will foreshadow our Blessed Mother’s own Magnificat, is here foreshadowed in our psalm in praise of the Lord’s favor to His servants: “To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord,” as is her faithfulness in fulfilling her vow to offer her son entirely to God: “My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all His people.” All who have looked upon her shame and sorrow shall marvel at the blessing the Lord’s “handmaid” will receive as He looses her bonds of emptiness and makes her fruitful in His eyes.
And in our gospel the Lord awakens the empty womb of the earth, stirring it to life. “The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the Good News!” He proclaims to a people in darkness. And children He brings forth from this barren country, the disciples He calls unto Himself, to be the first to share in His life. And they come forth, these pillars of the Church; they leave behind the world, all the world, to follow Him. Immediately, “on the spot,” they “became His followers.” “Along the Sea of Galilee,” beside this simple body of water, the waves of grace call forth from the darkness the light that shall illumine all men.
“How shall [we] make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for [us]?” How shall we poor sinners, barren of good works, unfruitful in His sight, thank Him for hearing our grieving cries? Simply, we must bear fruit in His name.
We are no longer childless.
O LORD, call us to yourself
that we might be childless no more.
YHWH, let us enter the temple singing your praise, for though we sit here in darkness weeping for our barrenness before you, you shall hear our prayer, you shall answer our weeping and make us fruitful in your sight. For now the Word goes forth to the ends of the earth, the Good News your Son brings to us through His blessed apostles, and our lives will be reformed and we made ready to enter your presence.
Look upon us, LORD our God, as here we toil in vain for the bread which cannot satisfy our souls. For you alone do we long, and long have we been waiting in tears for you to come to us and call us to your side. Hearing the sound of your Son’s voice, what can we do but rejoice? For He is our light in this darkness.
And so, let us offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving; let us leave all behind now to follow your Son, for He leads us to fruitful labor in your holy NAME. O LORD, let us die to the things of this world that we might live in glory forever.