Monday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time

Today's readings

The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Recently, I was reading a commentary on preaching that encouraged preachers to preach once in a while on other readings beside the Gospel. The Gospel's almost always the most obvious choice, and certainly contains the crux of the message in the Liturgy of the Word. But wonderful gems can be discovered if we dig a little deeper into the other readings. So today, I would like to reflect on the responsorial psalm, often sung, often recited, but largely forgotten. I'm a singer, so the psalm tends to appeal to me, and you will often hear me preach at least a short portion of my homily about the psalm, quite often at the very end. Today, I'd like to take a look at the psalm because I think it provides a beautiful link between the first reading and the Gospel.

The Lord is gracious and merciful.

These are words that are easy for us to pray when things are going well, but maybe not so much when we're going through rough times. At first glance today, it seems like the psalmist is going through some very good times indeed. But we have no way of knowing that. The only key to the great hymn of praise the psalmist is singing is that he is reflecting on the wonder of creation and the mighty deeds God does in the world. Indeed, the psalmist sees wonders not just in his own place but everywhere. He says, "The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. Every part of creation has been blessed by God's goodness. Because of this, God is to be praised not just now, but "forever and ever" and by "generation after generation."

This fits in very nicely with Hosea's prophecy. Preaching to the Israelites in exile, he proclaims that God will change the relationship between Israel and the Lord, much as one would change the relationship with a fiancé when the two are married. God will give Israel the ability to be faithful to God, and for His part, God will remember His faithfulness forever. God's great mercy and compassion are seen in the Gospel reading, which is Matthew's version of the story we had from Mark a week ago Sunday. Jesus rewards the faithfulness of Jairus and the woman with the hemorrhage with miraculous healings. Key to all of these wonderful events, in all three readings, is that God who has created us is committed to re-creating us in His love and faithfulness.

So as we approach the Eucharist today and reflect on all the mighty and wonderful things God does in our midst, may we too sing the psalmist's song. May we all praise God's name forever and ever, and proclaim his might to generation after generation.

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