Sat, 18 September 2021
O protector of your sheep,
you laid down your life
giving your blood
for the service of souls
that all might witness
the surpassing love of the Lord
and the glory that awaits
those who die in Him –
pray for shepherds
who feed their sheep,
not lording it over them
or seeking what gain they might find
taking the milk and wool
of their flock
and leaving them naked and lifeless…
but living the call of Christ
as you, dear shepherd, have done.
Pray those who govern God’s Church
will be ready even to die for Him
and the people they serve.
Let all be protected by the blood of the Lamb.
Sat, 18 September 2021
(Ws.2:12,17-20; Ps.54:3-8; Jas.3:16-4:3; Mk.9:30-37)
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.”
And can there be any greater foul practice come from jealousy and selfish ambition than that of which we hear in our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, for here the wicked plot the death of the Son of God – here is spoken of the horrible persecutions which the Messiah and all His followers undergo at the hands of the proud souls: “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of His gentleness and try His patience.” And so the Lamb of God shall endure His “shameful death,” according to the dark threats they breathe.
“The haughty have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life; they set not God before their eyes,” David cries unto the Lord. He too knows those who “kill and envy,” who “fight and wage war” against the righteous one because he puts them to shame, because he “reproaches [them] for transgressions of the law,” his justice and truth ever a sign of contradiction against “the passions that make war in [their] members,” from which they refuse to be released.
But it is indeed so, as even their own words condemn the wicked, that “God will take care of [the just one],” that “God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.” “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life,” David exclaims in the midst of his trial – for indeed the help of the Lord is ever with us; He shall always “defend [our] cause.” And the wicked shall ever be put to death for their sins against Him.
And what of the disciples today? It is true that “they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.” At this point in the journey they still are “arguing about” petty matters which lead but to condemnation, even as Jesus speaks of His imminent death. But their vain pride shall not last the day. For even in the Lord’s placing a child in their midst there is a kind of turning point; ashamed they can only be now, and soon, so soon, they will follow their blessed Lord to their own cross of crucifixion.
Set yourselves on the right path, brothers and sisters. Be not afraid to ask the Lord of His way and of the help you need to follow. But do not ask in vain or your evil desires will destroy you, and you shall not know His kingdom. Let no jealousy rule your hearts, but order your lives according to the Lord’s pure wisdom, and be “full of mercy and good fruits,” as even our “gentle” and “compliant” Lord. Keep this Child ever before your eyes.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Unbind Yourself" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, only you will deliver us
from the hands of our foes
and from our own transgressions.
YHWH, your Son was condemned to a shameful death by the haughty hearts of men, but you sustained His life, as you do our own. If we but set our hearts on serving you and the least of our brothers, if we but keep our arms around those you place in our care – if we but die with your Son and in His love, with Him we shall rise again.
O LORD, let arrogance and pride find no place in our lives. Let us not be tortured by selfish ambition or torture others because of our impatience with you and your holy will. If we fight against your goodness, allowing our passions to rule us, what shall we find but death to our souls and blindness to your glory among us? Your Son let us but follow, even on the path to crucifixion, and your protection will be with us all our days. Your arms you will keep around us, embracing us as your own dear Child. In peace we shall remain.