The Lord Remembers His Covenant Forever

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.

He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations—
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.

He greatly increased his people
and made them stronger than their foes,
Whose hearts he changed, so that they hated his people,
and dealt deceitfully with his servants.

He sent Moses his servant;
Aaron, whom he had chosen.
They wrought his signs among them,
and wonders in the land of Ham.
(Psalm 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27)

Scripture Study

105:5–7. Verse 7, a profession of faith which, bolstered by the narrative contained in the psalm, is similar to the summary in Deuteronomy 26:3–10 (cf. Josh 24:2–13) that the people used to profess their faith. Maybe these psalms were also recited on the feast of Weeks (cf. Lev 23:15–21) or on some other feast celebrating the escape from Egypt (Passover or Tabernacles).

105:8–11. Recalling the promise God made to give the people a land of their own, a promise made to Abraham (cf. Gen 15:1–2), Isaac (cf. Gen 26:3) and Jacob (cf. Gen 35:12), the psalmist stresses that the Lord will never go back on his word. That is why the people should offer praise; that is the ground of their hope.

105:23–36. To emphasize that the initiative lay with God, all these events are attributed to him (cf. vv. 24–26), including the sending of the plagues (vv. 28–36), eight of which are mentioned here and in a different order from that given in Exodus 7–12. Psalm 78 also recalled the plagues.

Scripture Reflection

The LORD wanted a people in the midst of all the other peoples of the world who “keep his statutes and observe his laws.” The sovereign of the universe sought to establish a colony of obedience, an enclave of those who represented and displayed his reign. This psalm has not a word to say about how God’s purpose fared in Israel’s history. The psalmist, writing after the exile in all probability, knew the painful story of Israel’s repeated failures.

But he also knew from the restoration of the people and the promised land about the power of the LORD to work out the covenant with the ancestors. So he composed a psalm that speaks only of the promise and the purpose. By it the descendants of Abraham are summoned to seek the power and the presence of their God because trust is the first act of obedience.

The lesson for the church is clear. There is a time and need for the church to hear the pristine word of God’s power and promise revealed in Jesus Christ. The church has no promise apart from its election in him and its identity as Abraham’s spiritual seed through him. God’s purpose to have a people who live by his rule in the midst of the nations persists through all times.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Inner Life

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
(Matthew 11:25-27)

Scripture Study

11:25–27 This saying, identical with Lk 10:21–22 except for minor variations, introduces a joyous note into this section, so dominated by the theme of unbelief. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees, have rejected Jesus’ preaching and the significance of his mighty deeds, the childlike have accepted them. Acceptance depends upon the Father’s revelation, but this is granted to those who are open to receive it and refused to the arrogant. Jesus can speak of all mysteries because he is the Son and there is perfect reciprocity of knowledge between him and the Father; what has been handed over to him is revealed only to those whom he wishes.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel we see Jesus praying to his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the “things” that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of the inner life of God.

Now why, precisely, is this knowledge concealed from the learned and disclosed to children? The clue is in the next statement: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father.” What is the essence of the divine life? It is a play of giving and receiving.

The Father, forgetting himself, gives rise to the Son, and the Son, refusing to cling to himself, receives from the Father. The Holy Spirit is this mutual sharing of the Father and the Son. God’s ownmost life is a looking toward the other in love.

From Adam and Eve to today, the fundamental human problem is that we seek something other than God. We seek to fill up the ego with stuff, such as sex, pleasure, power, honor. But this will never work, because we’ve been wired for God, and God is love.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Woe To You 1

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!

Woe To You

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
(Matthew 11:20-24)

Scripture Study

11:21 Chorazin … Bethsaida: Two cities north of the Sea of Galilee. Both are within five miles of Jesus’ home in Capernaum, and both are unresponsive to his ministry. Privileged by Jesus’ presence and works, they bear greater guilt for rejecting him than the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon, north of Palestine on the coast of Phoenicia (cf. Lk 12:48).

11:23 Capernaum: Jesus’ home during his Galilean ministry (4:13). Like his childhood home of Nazareth, this city too rejects Jesus and his works (13:53–58; Lk 4:16–30). ● Jesus’ rebuke upon the city recalls God’s judgment on the king of Babylon in Is 14:13–15. ● Morally: Capernaum signifies the soul that receives Christ but falls into mortal sin. Because Christ dwelt there, the fallen-away and prideful soul is subject to harsher judgment (2 Pet 2:20–22; CCC 678). Sodom: The city destroyed by God in Gen 19:24–25. It was a proverbial OT example of sexual sin and inhospitality that called down God’s wrath (Is 1:9; Jer 23:14; Ezek 16:44–46; Amos 4:11).

Scripture Reflection

Some of us read passages like these and are not greatly affected by them. The situation is remote, the language of prophetic judgment is foreign, and there seems to be little that fits our contemporary Christian experience. Unfortunately, this is a serious miscalculation on our part. These verses are directly relevant to the lives of God’s people today.

The lesson to be learned is simple: with great privilege comes great responsibility. The Galilean cities denounced by Jesus were blasted with unusually harsh words because they were among the precious few to see and hear and touch the Messiah in person. They had incentives to believe in Jesus that most will never have. As a result, the culpability of these towns for impenitence could hardly be greater.

What about us? Jesus has entrusted the Church with the fullness of Christian truth and grace. Christians of all confessions hold that salvation in Christ is ours for the taking and that the Bible is the living Word of God. Have we responded to these privileges with faith and zeal proportionate to their greatness? If we are honest with ourselves, we will surely find areas in our lives that are not fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus. Yet if Christ is truly present among us—in his Word, in his Eucharist, and in his Church—then we are in a situation much like that of ancient Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum as they witnessed his ministry.

Here is a case where applying Scripture to our lives means learning from the mistakes of others. Will we, unlike the towns of Galilee, take advantage of the time that is ours to repent of our sinful ways and to pursue holiness? Or will we procrastinate until the window of opportunity closes for good? To us much has been given, and so much will be required.

– Curtis Mitch

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Not Peace

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
(Matthew 10:34 – 11:1)

Scripture Study

10:38 The first mention of the cross in Matthew, explicitly that of the disciple, but implicitly that of Jesus (and follow after me). Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment used by the Romans for offenders who were not Roman citizens.

10:39 One who denies Jesus in order to save one’s earthly life will be condemned to everlasting destruction; loss of earthly life for Jesus’ sake will be rewarded by everlasting life in the kingdom.

10:40–42 All who receive the disciples of Jesus receive him, and God who sent him, and will be rewarded accordingly.

10:41 A prophet: one who speaks in the name of God; here, the Christian prophets who proclaim the gospel. Righteous man: since righteousness is demanded of all the disciples, it is difficult to take the righteous man of this verse and one of these little ones (Mt 10:42) as indicating different groups within the followers of Jesus. Probably all three designations are used here of Christian missionaries as such.

Scripture Reflection

The idea of taking up a cross is often used by Christians today as a metaphor to describe bearing with life’s regular burdens: a long wait in traffic, a difficult boss, a cold. However, for the first-century Jews, the image of taking up a cross evoked horror and shame.

Crucifixion was the cruelest form of execution used by the Roman government. It was intended not only to punish rebels by inflicting as much physical pain as possible but also to maximize humiliation, sending a signal to other potential rebels not to revolt against Rome. The criminal’s public shaming began when he took up his crossbeam and carried it through the city streets amid the mockery of the crowds.

Therefore when Jesus says the true disciple must “take up his cross,” he is not merely calling for acceptance of life’s little inconveniences and hardships. He is calling his disciples to be willing to give up everything, even their lives if necessary, to follow him.

– Curtis Mitch

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Sower

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
(Matthew 13:1-9)

Scripture Study

Jesus’ first parable, known as the parable of the sower, draws on images that for some ancient Jews would have been quite familiar not only from the agricultural world in which they lived but also from their Scriptures. The different soils represent the different kinds of responses to his ministry.

First, some are completely unreceptive to Christ. They hear the word without understanding it. This description applies to the Pharisees, who have so misunderstood Jesus that they have accused him of being in league with the devil (9:34; 12:24). The reference to those who hear “without understanding” also points to the towns that witnessed Christ’s mighty deeds yet did not repent (11:20–24). These townspeople, and anyone else who fails to grasp the importance of Jesus’ message, are like seed sown on a path and devoured by birds—a symbol for the evil one, Satan (2 Cor 4:4).

Second, some in Israel respond to Jesus’ teaching with immediate enthusiasm: they receive it at once with joy. However, when faced with tribulation or persecution they fall away. This might point to the crowds who initially respond positively to Jesus (7:28; 9:33; 12:23) but whose enthusiasm will vanish during his last days in Jerusalem. People who do not persevere through trial and persecution are like seed that falls on rocky ground and springs up at once, but when the sun scorches it, withers for lack of root.

Third, some hear the word, but worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. This description recalls the warning Jesus gave his disciples about the worries of this world (6:25–34). It also points to the problem of the rich young man who walks away from Jesus because of his attachment to his many possessions (19:16–22). All such would-be disciples are like the seed that fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.

Finally, the true follower of Christ hears the word and understands it. This points to the disciples who have been given “knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom” (13:11); they truly see and hear (13:16–17). The disciples will be explicitly identified as those who “understand” Christ’s teachings in parables (13:51). Jesus says they are like seed falling on rich soil. They will bear fruit—an image for the practical living out of one’s faithfulness to God (3:8, 10; 7:17–20; 12:33). Though many do not respond to Jesus, those who do will produce an abundant harvest, yielding a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel for today is the parable of the sower and the seed. It has to do with the growth and development of the kingdom of God. We hear that Jesus “went out of the house and sat down by the sea” and that large crowds gathered around him. This is Jesus speaking to the whole world.

Sitting down, he is, again, in the attitude of the ancient teacher and judge, and he speaks the parable of the sower. The sower sows far and wide, some of the seed landing on the path, where the birds eat it up; some falling on rocky ground, where it was scorched in the sun; some sown among thorns, where the life is choked off; and some sown on rich soil, where it bears thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.

Keep in mind that Jesus himself, in person, is the seed sown. Jesus is the logos that wants to take root in us. This seed is sown far and wide, through all sorts of means, but in you, let the seed be sown deep, where it can’t be stolen, scorched, or choked.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Paper Tigers

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
(Matthew 10:24-33)

Scripture Study

The notion that no disciple or slave could have a higher status than his teacher or master needs no explanation. Similarly, it was expected that the disciple should become like his teacher and that the slave should share in the lot of his master. The disciples, however, do not anticipate how harshly their teacher and Lord will be rejected.

The Jewish leaders associate Jesus with Beelzebul, a name for Satan that literally means “Lord of the House,” with reference to Satan’s power in this world. The Pharisees will accuse Jesus of driving out demons by the power of “Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” and on the basis of this accusation will plot to kill him. If this is what they do to the true master of the house (Jesus), those of his household (the disciples) should not expect better treatment. They too will be rejected and persecuted.

Yet the disciples must not be afraid of their opponents. They must still proclaim the gospel. It would be tempting to stop preaching the gospel or to soften its message in order to make things easier and protect themselves from suffering. But Jesus entrusts the full gospel message to his disciples, and others are dependent on them to proclaim it for their salvation. Therefore, Jesus says, even though they will be persecuted like their teacher and Lord, they must not be afraid. What they learned from Jesus they must speak in the light, not being afraid to proclaim it on the housetops.

Such bold proclamation may lead to martyrdom. If faced with the choice between dying for the sake of Christ or denying him to save one’s life, we must remember that the worst thing our enemies can do is kill the body; they cannot kill the soul. Better to save one’s soul than to save one’s physical life. Therefore we should fear God much more than our persecutors, for only God has power over the body and soul. In other words, we should have a healthy fear of the Lord because God alone can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

In the face of persecution, if the disciple acknowledges Jesus before his enemies, Jesus will acknowledge him before my heavenly Father, so that even if his enemies harm his body God will save his soul. But the disciple who rejects Christ to save his life here on earth cannot rely on Jesus to defend him on judgment day: whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.

In sum, Jesus addresses the Twelve in a very straightforward way about the opposition they will encounter on the mission he is giving them. Matthew records these words for future disciples, whose lot will be the same.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, Jesus instructs his disciples in today’s Gospel, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.”

What is the greatest fear we have? Undoubtedly, the fear of losing our own lives; we fear the death of the body. But Jesus is telling us not to worry about those paper tigers that can only affect the body and its goods.

When I am in love with God, when I am “fearing” him above all things, I am rooted in a power that transcends space and time, a power that governs the universe in its entirety, a power that is greater than life and death.

More to it, this power knows me intimately and guides me according to his purposes: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid.” Because of this we have nothing to fear from anything or anybody here below.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Do the Good

Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.

The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.

Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.

The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

(Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40)

Scripture Study

37:1–11. These verses contain advice and arguments from a wise man who has that wisdom which has been recommended from Psalm 1 onwards (cf. Ps 1; 19; 32), and which comes from reflecting on life—personal experience and the experience of God’s people down the years. This wisdom leads him to trust in the Lord and his justice and not to react angrily or violently to the doings of the wicked. Hence the insistence on not “fretting”, on “being still” and “waiting patiently” … The Lord will see to it that justice triumphs—as sure as day follows night, as sure as the sun will shine (v. 6). It is he who has given his people the promised land and, therefore, he will see to it that those who trust in him will have a share in it and benefit from it (vv. 3, 9, 11).

37:12–26. The wicked want to wrest the land from the poor and the weak by violent and unjust means (vv. 12–14, 21), but the Lord protects the latter, whereas the former will be victims of their own violence (v. 15) and they will soon disappear (v. 20), leaving the land to the righteous (v. 22).

37:27–33. Speaking from experience, the wise teacher repeats his advice—to do good always (v. 27) and keep God’s law (v. 31) so as to possess the land (v. 29).

37:37–40. The third exhortation is to follow the example of those who act in an upright way in order to have posterity (vv. 37–38), for even when things go very badly the Lord helps those who seek refuge in him (vv. 39–40). To the Kingdom of God, we read in the psalm, belong those who trust totally in him and stay true to him, not losing their calm when evil seems to have the upper hand. “Let us have faith, brothers and sisters: let us keep up the fight of the living God and strive in this present life, with our eyes fixed on the crown of the next life. A righteous person does not get instant payment for his efforts; he has to be patient. If God were to reward the just immediately, religious devotion would be a sort of trade; we would give the impression that we desire to be righteous out of love of gain, not love of piety. And so it happens that divine judgments sometimes lead us to have doubts and benumb our spirit, because we still do not see things clearly.”

Scripture Reflection

The psalm addresses a specific spiritual predicament, the contrast and conflict between the wicked and the righteous. The problem people are the wicked. The wickedness of the wicked lies first of all in their enmity toward God, which is evident in their autonomous way of life. They follow a way that is their own and pursue their own schemes.

The teacher’s counsel to the perplexed is based on the belief in God that lies at the foundation of the law and the prophets. The LORD is sovereign. His power is not put in question by those who go their own way; so ways of life that contradict justice and righteousness are founded alone on the finitude of human beings who live for themselves. The LORD is faithful to his faithful; their life is founded in the one whose way is the foundation of the universe.

Righteousness is first of all trust, delighting in the LORD as the prime source of joy and peace in living, committing one’s way to the LORD, making faith a refuge against the threats and problems of life. Faith must “wait on the LORD” who disposes of time and what happens in it. The righteous (those who wait for the LORD, the meek, the blessed) “shall inherit/possess the land.” They will realize the promise to Abraham. It is not the nation Israel but the Israel of faith that has a future in the reign of God. The ground is laid for the teacher of the beatitudes, who will say, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Mission

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”
(Matthew 10:7-15)

Scripture Study

10:8–11 The Twelve have received their own call and mission through God’s gift, and the benefits they confer are likewise to be given freely. They are not to take with them money, provisions, or unnecessary clothing; their lodging and food will be provided by those who receive them.

10:13 The greeting of peace is conceived of not merely as a salutation but as an effective word. If it finds no worthy recipient, it will return to the speaker.

10:14 Shake the dust from your feet: this gesture indicates a complete disassociation from such unbelievers.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in our Gospel today, Jesus sends the apostles on a mission of evangelization, a mission which we continue today.

We Catholics cannot avoid the demand of evangelization, of proclaiming the faith. Vatican II couldn’t be clearer on this score, seeing the Church itself as nothing but a vehicle for evangelization. According to Vatican II, it’s not so much the case that the Church has a mission, but rather that a mission has the Church. Bringing people to Christ is not one work among many; rather it is the central work of the Church, that around which everything else that we do revolves.

Do we need evangelization? The statistics couldn’t be clearer. Did you know that there are nearly as many ex-Catholics as Catholics in this country? Did you know that by some estimates, between 50 and 80% of those who attend the Protestant mega-church of Willow Creek are former Catholics? Did you know that the fastest-growing category in those polls of religious affiliation is “none?” Did you know that a recent survey shows that among young religious people, those with the worst sense of their own tradition are Jews, but that the second to last are Catholics?

We need evangelization more than ever before. Will you answer the call?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

We Place Our Trust In You

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.

The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.

But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
(Psalm 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19)

Scripture Study

33:1–3. Praise of God calls for uprightness of heart and also external solemnity: the “lyre” and the “harp” were instruments used by the Levites (cf. 1 Chron 15:16). “A new song” (v. 3) is a reference either to the text or its music, or else to a response to a new act of deliverance by God (cf. Ps 96:1–2; 98:1–2). There is always something new about praise due to the circumstances in which it is sung. Commenting on v. 3, St Augustine says: “Everybody wonders how he should sing to the Lord. Sing to him, but sing well. He will not listen to a song that offends his ears. Sing well, my brothers. […] Who, then, thinks himself so great a master as to sing for God? Who can claim to sit in judgment on the cantor? Who can listen with a truly critical ear? This verse tells of the way you ought to sing to Him: do not be concerned with words, as if words were able to convey what brings delight to God. Sing with joy. The song sung with joy is the song that pleases God. And to sing with joy is to recognize that we cannot put into words what our heart feels” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 32, 7–8).

33:10–12. The continuity of God’s actions, his faithful adherence to his purposes, is also to be seen in his enduring choice of Israel, the nation he took for his own (v. 12).

33:13–19. The psalmist is in awe of God’s providence over mankind: he made every human being and he reads the hearts of all (vv. 13–15). Among them, not even the powerful (the “king”, the “warrior”: vv. 16–17) can be saved by their own strength: they all owe their lives to God’s help (vv. 18–19).

Scripture Reflection

Psalm 33 is a hymn of praise with a specific purpose. It proclaims the LORD as the one in whom the righteous may place their trust and hope. The psalm as a whole expresses in language the theological vision of reality that belongs to the worshiping community. Our normal way of thinking is to divide the world into distinct spheres, each with its own separate features and laws. We think in terms of nature, history, individual psychology, and religion. The psalm sees behind the various dimensions of reality the comprehending actuality of the sovereign LORD whose being as God comprehends and controls them all. It is the LORD and not the world that we place all our trust in.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.