Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to
obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I,
"Behold I come."
In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your
will, O my God, is my delight,
(from Ps 40)
the Word …
One method parenting experts suggest calming a crying toddler or one
having a tantrum is to stoop down so that we are at eye level with
the child, then slowly lower our own voice to a whisper until things
settle down. It takes great patience to do this and sometimes it
works. And sometimes it doesn’t—usually when we are in public and we
imagine everyone is judging us and thinking, “I wish they would shut
that kid up!”
Interacting with a child--or anyone for that matter--in a gentle,
quiet, non-threatening manner is always a good approach. It can
diffuse tense or even violent situations. It reminds me of the
passage from Isaiah 42: “He
will not cry out or raise his voice, or make his voice heard in the
street. A bruised reed he will not break, a dimly burning wick he
will not extinguish.”
The Lord hears our cries. He stoops down and comes to earth to live
among us, to relate to us on our level, to put a new song in our
mouths, new ears open to obedience; to teach us to be still and to
do his will.
“…he came to share your plight, your fight, your night, and point
you toward tomorrow.”
(Michael Moynahan, S.J.)
Living the Word…
Oh Lord God! How our world is sorely in need of quietness,
stillness, a ratcheting down of tense, potentially relationship- and
even world-ending violence!
It’s a challenge these days maintaining that fine line between
keeping informed and keeping our sanity. That’s why time spent in
prayer and reflection is so important. To paraphrase the theologian
Karl Barth, we should read the news with the newspaper (or these
days, the cell phone) in one hand and the Bible in the other. It is
faith and hope in God’s promise that allows us to weather the
constant tantrums we see played out in the news; to avoid responding
in kind to attacks and criticism; and to know ”that all things
work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the
called according to His purpose.” (Rm 8:28)
See what you can do this week to promote peace and civil dialogue in
your home or community. Imagine Jesus is there with you, helping and
encouraging you. And pray. God knows—indeed he does--we need it!
“No one sews a piece of un-shrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he
does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old and the tear
gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the
skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”(Mk
The two metaphors Jesus uses here seem contradictory to me. The
first talks about the need to shrink the new in order to patch the
old. Maybe we’ve had this experience—adapting our plans to keep the
peace or rethinking our dreams in light of the dreams of others. But
I find the second one more compelling. While the vine that yields
the wine has not changed and will never, the wine itself is always
new. Trying to contain it in old wineskins—antiquated ways of
operating and thinking— is not going to work. We can either shrink
to patch up the old or open ourselves to a brand-new way. God tells
us, “Behold, I am making all things new!” Will we shrink or become a
(Samuel) also had Jesse and his sons invited to the sacrifice. As
they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD's
anointed is here before him."… In the same way Jesse
presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, "The
LORD has not chosen any one of these." (1 Sm 15:16-23)
I wonder how David’s brothers feel. Are they bitter like Jacob’s
sons were about Joseph? It must be difficult as they each stand in
front of Samuel, only to be rejected, especially in favor of the
youngest one! The reading points out David is anointed “in the midst
of his brothers,” so there is no getting around who is now in
charge. How do we react when someone gets chosen over us? It’s hard
to look past the rejection, but as people of faith, we are called to
trust that God “has plans for our welfare, not for woe” (Jer
29:11); that God has other things in store for us if we can accept
and wait patiently for our call—a call that might not be the
starring role, but one that will best serve God. In the long run,
that is what will make for our peace.
“All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or
spear that the LORD saves. For the battle is the LORD's and he shall
deliver you into our hands."
(1 Sm 17:32-33, 37, 40-51)
So not by the sword or spear, but by a stone! Violence is still
violence. Let’s remember the historical context of this dramatic
story of David and Goliath (and a lot of the Old Testament stories).
The might of a nation’s gods was judged by displays of power and the
violent destruction of the enemy. But the message here is also not
about the little guy versus the big guy, as secular society portrays
it. It is all about faith, faith that “the battle is the Lord’s.”
Whatever the outcome, David demonstrates, and will continue to
demonstrate throughout his life, an immovable faith in God’s will,
even when things don’t go his way. David never doubts God’s
promises, so even when he sins gravely and is punished, he expects
and accepts God’s mercy. Let us pray today to be granted the grace
of David’s faith in God’s unending fidelity.
“My wanderings you have counted; my tears are stored in your flask;
are they not recorded in your book?”
Some may read this and shudder, imagining God recording our every
move in a big celestial book! But focus instead on the poetic
expression of our tears being stored in God’s flask. What a
beautiful way to describe God’s compassion! God is with us as we
wander, close to us, the brokenhearted, as we weep for our sorrows,
losses, and sins.
“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but
“In the shadow of your wings I take refuge, till harm passes by."
And once harm passes, what do we do? Well, some wander off far away
and forget about God, only to come running back when harm again
rears its head. Others choose to stay under God’s wings, afraid to
venture too far. God remains a constant presence for all, nurturing
the timid and welcoming back the wanderers. But I imagine God likes
it most when we are willing, like David, to go forth into the world,
praising God for his protection, thanking God for his mercy, and
allowing others to see how our faith emboldens us to meet the
challenges the world presents. Today, again we pray: “Lord, grant us
the faith of your servant, David.”
His relatives…set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his
Love your enemies. Forgive and pray for those persecuting you. Hang
out with thieves and prostitutes. Touch lepers. Turn the other
cheek. Eat his flesh and drink his blood. Are you out of your mind