Getting worship right isn't as easy as we make it out to be sometimes. Often we pay so much attention to picking the right songs, taking care of the art and environment, and the many other details. And these things are all very important and need to be done. But none of them eclipses putting the right song in our hearts, beautifying our souls and living the details of our faith with fortitude.
Hezekiah had lived faithfully and so he cried out to the Lord when he heard of his impending death. The Lord in his faithfulness granted Hezekiah fifteen more years to serve him, as well as giving him rest from the bitter onslaught of the Assyrians. Hezekiah's response to all of this was a response of worship. Today's responsorial psalm consists of the verses of Isaiah that follow what we have heard in today's first reading. In those verses, Hezekiah sings the praise of God:
You have given me health and life;
thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.
You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction,
when you cast behind your back all my sins.
For it is not the nether world that gives you thanks, nor death that praises you;
Neither do those who go down into the pit await your kindness.
The living, the living give you thanks, as I do today.
Fathers declare to their sons, O God, your faithfulness.
The LORD is our savior; we shall sing to stringed instruments
in the house of the LORD all the days of our life. (Isaiah 38:16b-20)
The Pharisees, however, in all their good fortune, never gave true worship a moment's thought. Their worship consisted in simply following the rules, and never coming to an understanding or an application of the spirit of the Law. Had they been able to get worship right, Jesus' followers wouldn't have had to break the Sabbath by picking grains of wheat to eat. They would have been taken care of by the hospitality of others.
Because worship isn't just about what we do here in this place; it's all about what we do when we go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Every moment we have is a gift from God, and in every one of those moments, we must make the decision to worship with our thoughts, words and actions. When we do that, I guarantee that we will come to realize how truly blessed we are and realize the many wonderful ways God has saved our lives as he did for Hezekiah.