February 19, 2017

Feb 22, 2017

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Reflection by Fr. Leo

 

Psalm 103:1-2,3-4,8,10,12-13.

  1. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;

and all my being, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

  1. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He pardons all your iniquities,

heals all your ills.

He redeems your life from destruction,

crowns you with kindness and compassion.

  1. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,

slow to anger and abounding in kindness.

Not according to our sins does he deal with us,

nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

  1. The Lord is kind and merciful.

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he put our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

  1. The Lord is kind and merciful.

What wonderful uplifting praise we have in our psalm today, “The Lord is Kind and merciful.”  Note, the psalmist uses the verb is.  That means now, in this very moment, God is active and merciful!

 

So the praise that is being offered to the Lord is because he is pardoning our iniquities, healing our ills and crowning us with compassion now.  God is in this moment merciful and gracious, putting our transgressions far from us.  Like a parent, God has compassion on us now.  In this moment we can live new lives in healed relationship with God and all creation.

 

It is hard for us to take in this psalm in its fullness.  We are so used to thinking there is something we must do to be forgiven.  One of the culprits in this is our misunderstanding and misuse of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We are not forgiven in the sacrament as much as we remember God’s love for us, and claim for ourselves through God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness achieved once and for all in Christ.  We celebrate God’s love for us as he helps us love ourselves for who we are in God.  What is restored and brought forward, not made, is our relationship with God, ourselves and all things in love.  This is the work of the Spirit and is not confined to a sacramental celebration.

 

The beauty of today’s psalm is that there is no intermediary.  God directly shares his love, his divinity with us, that we may be one in God and one with all creation. 

 

Pray this psalm over and over this week until it becomes a part of your soul in the experience of God’s love.  This experience will make you more fully one in God and in all things by the working of the Holy Spirit.

 

The natural flow from the experience of the psalm, the work of the Spirit in us, is that we become all that this psalm embodies for us to others.  This is how we come to love even our enemies.  Removing their transgressions far from them and loving them as God loves us.  This we do to make real the oneness we have received through God for/with others.  This is what Jesus models for us; the love we are to be for all!