Speak Lord: Of Justice and life with you for ever.

Judgement Autun

The Responsorial Psalm on Sunday, the 22nd in Ordinary Time, draws us into contemplation of the consequences of good and faithful living.

The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart;
he who does not slander with his tongue.

The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

He who does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbour,
who holds the godless in disdain,
but honours those who fear the Lord.

The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

He who keeps his pledge, come what may;
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever.

The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 14:2-5

There could be something self-satisfied and smug about the psalmist, who it seems has accomplished all these things. Though perhaps he only acknowledges what it must be like to have achieved this way of life.

Yet either way – achieving it or pondering the potential of achieving it – the psalmist seems in proper awe of virtuous, faithful, living. These good things are real, true, and can be realised, are not beyond us, however challenging they will always be,

The psalmist is clear that to live in the presence of the Lord is the most desirable thing.

How wonderful it is that God allows us this privilege, always, everywhere, when we raise our minds and hearts to him. Even when we live lives fogged by ambiguity and weakness, he does not leave us to our own devices. He is close offering encouragement, healing, hope – through the presence of the Lord even the unjust can learn to live.

In God’s love for us is our hope, now and always.

Last Judgement from Cathedral of Saint-Lazare, Autun. Plaster cast in the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

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