Wed, 8 September 2021
O slave to the slaves,
to those who came in chains
to the new world,
those whose dark skin
made them seem to eyes of flesh
less than men…
to you these were children of God,
souls to be saved by His love
and through His Church,
and so the thousands
baptized by your hands
celebrate your glorious sacrifice
this day in God’s presence –
pray for us, dear brother,
that the shackles of racial prejudice,
the pride that exalts man above man,
shall fall from our hands,
our tongues and our hearts,
and that all of the Lord’s holy people
will work so diligently
as you, His blessed slave,
for the care of the weakest among us
and the salvation of all souls.
Wed, 8 September 2021
(Col.3:12-17; Ps.150:1-6; Lk.6:27-38)
“Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action,
do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
“Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.” Such is our speech and action when dedicated to God. Our lives indeed become a symphony of His grace when we “let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in [us].” The “blast of the trumpet… with lyre and harp… with timbrel and dance… with strings and pipe… with sounding of cymbals,” which our psalm exhorts in praise of God, are the litany of virtues we are called in both our first reading and our gospel to practice with our Christian lives.
Paul conducts us to “clothe [our]selves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” He invokes “Christ’s peace,” “thankfulness,” and “wisdom made perfect” upon us, and states: “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect,” making love the key to this hymn we sing and play with our lives, the note to which we continually return and which is ever present at the heart of our melody. And what a perfectly marvelous, heavenly song this is when sung in sincerity and truth.
The sincerity and truth to which we are called is made unmistakable in the Lord’s teaching in our gospel. Here we have the greatest challenge to our virtue of love, and its greatest moment. Here the magnum opus is sounded. Jesus has for us a litany of virtues Himself: “Be compassionate… do not judge… do not condemn… pardon… give,” and assures us that “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” will be ours if we live by His word. But the love which is the sum of all virtues is most poignantly accentuated in the command which sets the Lord and His grace apart from all others and their teachings, which makes Him so clearly the Son of God. “To you who hear me, I say: Love your enemies,” He proclaims to His disciples, and then makes explicit the call to a Christian life: “Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who maltreat you.” And more specifically, “When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn and give him the other; when someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well.” Who can hear these words? Who can heed these commands? Who can live them in speech and action, as has our Lord upon the cross? It is this sacrifice of love to which we are called, and only this will raise our song unto heaven. We must act always out of love.
O LORD, how shall we love as you who are Most High
when we cannot even love as humans? –
if we really are your chosen ones
we will die on the Cross with Jesus.
YHWH, let us praise you with all our lives; may all our words and all our actions be a song of praise to you. Christ’s peace reigning in our hearts, help us to love one another, even our enemies, forgiving any wrong done to us and praying for the salvation of all souls. As Jesus let us be in our compassion, desiring never to see others condemned but hoping always for their conversion in your blessed mercy. Then our song shall reach to you and the angels will shower your graces upon us.
To what great love you call us, LORD! to be even as your only Son, even as you are in your infinite mercy. If we could but hear your call, if we but answered Jesus’ instruction with the sacrifice it entails, how blessed we would be? Help us to lay down our lives with Him, even for those who kill us. Alleluia!