Friday, September 30, 2011
While We Were Sleeping
The first reading for Mass today is from the prophet Baruch. This is one of my favorite Old Testament books; this prophet seems to have a lot to say to me. In today's passage, I believe he has a lot to say to all of us, not so much as individuals, but as nations.
The passage from Baruch talks about the days during the Babylonian exile and how the captives during that exile came to realize that they and their ancestors had sinned against the God who loved and cared for them.
As I read this passage several thoughts came to mind. First I could not help but see my own country in the list of sins the exiles had repented of. The United States is a country that has turned from God. The moral decadence (or perhaps amoral decadence is a better term)that runs rampant through our culture, the fact that we are a nation that has made killing our unborn children "a constitutional right", and the general blurring of the line between right and wrong clearly show that we are a people who have relied more on ourselves than on the God who made us and loves us.
While I am aware that other countries have these problems, I can only speak for my own country. The consequences of these sins have begun to play themselves out~ many are too blinded by self love and self motivation to see them.
The other thought I had while reading this passage from Baruch was Jesus' Passion, specifically His Agony in the Garden. Meditate on this for a moment: During this particular part of Jesus' Passion, He experienced an agony so great that it caused the capillaries beneath His skin to burst and He sweat blood. The agony He experienced was a physical one (doctors report that this condition is extremely painful), but probably more so a spiritual, mental and emotional agony. Jesus saw all the sins that mankind had committed and would ever commit and took them upon Himself. We who love Him can only begin to imagine the intensity of the agony His pure soul, mind and body must have felt!
My point here is Jesus saw then what mankind is doing now. He saw how so many would turn against Him and the One who sent Him. In a way, His agony continues.
There is hope though because there is a remnant people. Those who have not turned away from God, but those who have turned toward Him in repentance, reparation and love. We who may be a part of that remnant need to continue to pray, do penance, and as I have said before, stand in the breach.
Baruch's words were relevant all those thousands of years ago; they are still relevant for us today. The prophets continue to speak to us down through the ages. Are we listening?
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.