Taste and See: Safe and secure

Jeanne D'Arc, Nice

The Responsorial Psalm at Mass on Sunday of this week, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of the importance of just living, ie of living justly.

It speaks a real sense of order and peace and hope and security into our world, which is marked and marred by murder and mayhem, uncertainly and insecurity, anxiety for us and again and again the worst of things for others.

The psalmist says the answer to all that is to walk without fault; act with justice and speak truth from our hearts; to do no wrong to our brother, cast no slur on our neighbour, hold the godless in disdain, but honour those who fear the Lord.

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

The psalm offers good advice. The world would be better if we did that. Is better when people do that. Thank God for good people, for they make a good difference.

Yet there is a certain naivety about the sentiment and teaching of the Psalm. And its presumptions are critiqued again and again in the Old Testament. And that critique lies at the heart of the New Testament too. For bad things happen to good people.

Our firmness and security is assured by God. We will not necessarily enjoy it in this world, or at least not in the way that the psalmist seems to envisage. But God is our foundation. He is our security.

That the world does not understand. But it is what we are to learn from the Lord.

The Gospel of Sunday invites us, again, to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from him. Learn from him to live, not for ourselves but for others.

To live that way is for our good – for it draws us into communion with God, even into communion here, though it is especially his gift for all eternity. But most of all we learn to live that way for the good of others: from our communion with God learning to live his love for others.

  •  For what and whom do you live?
  • What is the last thing you have learnt from the Lord?

Exterior of the Church of Jeanne d’Arc, Nice. France. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

 

 

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