Psalms 48-50; 1 Thessalonians 3

Posted July 30, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Uncategorized

Psalm 49:14-16

This is the way of those who trust in themselves,

and the end of those who take pleasure in their own mouth.

Like a herd of sheep they will be put into Sheol, and Death will shepherd them.

Straight to the grave they descend, where their form will waste away,

Sheol will be their palace.

But God will redeem my life, will take me from the hand of Sheol.

Psalm 49 is a great meditation on the futility of putting one’s trust in riches, instead of putting it in God,  There is nothing inherently evil in the accumulation of wealth: it is when whether you make that your God or not.  We all know with our heads that we are sooner or later leaving this existence and entering the next naked (I assume; an angel may hand you something nice to wear before entering the court room) and empty-handed.  We not all of us believe it in our hearts.  This psalm ties in nicely with today’s Gospel, the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.

Psalms 45-47; 1 Thessalonians 2

Posted July 25, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Psalm 47:6-10

God has gone up with a shout; the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.

Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise.

For God is king over all the earth; sing hymns of praise.

God rules over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne.

The princes of the peoples assemble with the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God, highly exalted.

In Psalm 47 we have a wonderful prefigurement of the Ascension of Christ.  I think of the tremendous disappointment and discontent we often feel towards our earthly leaders; our hearts will swell with love and joy in the presence of the eternal King.

Psalms 41-44; Thessalonians 1

Posted July 23, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Psalm 41:6-11

My enemies say bad things against me: ‘When will he die and his name be forgotten?’

When someone comes to visit me, he speaks without sincerity.

His heart stores up malice; when he leaves, he gossips.

All those who hate me whisper together against me;

they imagine the worst about me:

He has had ruin poured over him; that one lying down will never rise again.’

Even my trusted friend, who ate my bread, has raised his heel against me.

 “But you, LORD, take note of me to raise me up that I may repay them.”

Psalm 41 is a prayer in a time of illness.  It made me think back to my reflection on Psalm 28.  But what jumped out at me here is verse 11:  David wants to take things a step more “Old Testament”.  He’s not asking for the Lord to repay his enemies, he’s praying for recovery so he himself could dish out repayment.  And these men he wants to “repay” haven’t it seemed done anything other than send out some edgy tweets about him.  Maybe King David went a little Trump in his old age (Alt Right, I tease, I joke.)

Psalms 38-40; Colossians 4

Posted July 21, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Psalms 39:6-8

To be sure, you establish the expanse of my days; indeed, my life is as nothing before you.

Every man is but a breath.

Man goes about as a mere phantom; they hurry about, although in vain;

he heaps up stores without knowing for whom.

And now, LORD, for what do I wait?

You are my only hope.

A verse from King David that echoes Ecclesiastes, a recognition of the vanity of life on this earth.  God’s creation is good, and the material gifts of this world are to be enjoyed, and shared.  We are called to be prudent stewards of these gifts, living with acknowledgement of the “term limits” on our stewardship.  But David nails it: God, you are indeed our only ultimate hope.

Psalms 35-37; Colossians 3

Posted July 20, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The wellspring of Christian love – the love of God and the overflow of that love which we have for our neighbor – is gratitude.  G. K. Chesterton struggled with depression as a young man until he embraced he said a fundamental principle, that it is better to exist than to not exist.  Before his feet hit the floor in the morning he offered an effusive prayer of thanksgiving for being granted another day.  I encourage everyone to embrace this practice, and to pray for that person who returns your smiling “Good morning!” with “What’s good about it?”  They need to be loved by you as well as God.

Psalms 32-34; Colossians 2

Posted July 18, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Psalm 32:1-5

Blessed is the one whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.

Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat.

Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide.

I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.

The sacrament of Reconciliation: so many fear it, which is sad.  In that sacrament is perhaps as intimate an encounter we can have with the merciful Christ.  It is a three-legged stool for building a relationship with Jesus: the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation, along with Eucharistic Adoration.  Don’t let a fear of confession or a “it’s just me an Jesus” attitude result in a missing leg of the stool, though I suspect those who eucharistically adore Jesus naturally regularly confess.

Psalms 29-31; Colossians 1

Posted July 13, 2017 by Thomas Walker
Categories: Catholicism, Faith

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

(from the NAB notes) What is lacking: although variously interpreted, this phrase does not imply that Christ’s atoning death on the cross was defective. It may refer to the apocalyptic concept of a quota of “messianic woes” to be endured before the end comes; cf. Mk 13:8192024 and the note on Mt 23:2932. Others suggest that Paul’s mystical unity with Christ allowed him to call his own sufferings the afflictions of Christ.

I’m on board with the latter, that Paul’s unity with Christ allowed him to share in the sufferings of Christ.  This question comes up a lot in the call-in shows I listen to, where this verse is misinterpreted as Paul insinuating that Jesus’ sacrifice was incomplete.  And when we suffer, we have the opportunity to “offer it up” as Sister Mary Joseph used to say, and unite ourselves to the Cross.  And God bless you Sister Mary Joseph: you are either still alive at 133 and threatening the other rest home residents with your ruler, or praying for me in Heaven.  I’m betting it’s the latter.