Scripture: Lectionary 234. Feb. 28th. Jeremiah 17:5-10. Psalm 1:1-188.8.131.52. Luke 16:19-31:
Psalm 1 is an important psalm for it serves as the introduction and preface to the whole book of Psalms consisting of 150 psalms including this wisdom psalm 1. The image of a tree planted near flowing vibrant waters is found also in Jeremiah which could lead to thinking he may have composed this psalm. Jeremiah uses the tree and its verdant foliage and fruit for describing the blessed person who follows the laws of the Lord. Our psalmist also applies the image to the blessed one who meditates day and night on the instruction, the laws, and the revelation of God (all three words are essential to the Torah).
The key verse is the following: (the blessed one) “delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:2). The wise person delights in God’s words, laws, and revelation. They are not a burden but a blessing. The psalmist is praying in such a manner that his mind and heart ruminate, that is, continually turn over in his heart God’s revelatory word. This is true wisdom that orders all things rightly. We do something similar when we practice the lectio divina in thinking about and applying the daily readings to our day and our relationships with others. While addressing God and remaining in God’s presence we have a sense of reverential awe; this is also part of biblical wisdom.
The meditating should go on day and night in our moments of recalling the sacred words of the liturgical readings. Sometimes we do this with great results if we are able to share our faith with others praying the same texts. The founder of the Marianists insisted on “faith of the heart” as seen in Romans 10. This is the idea expressed in the psalm. The outcome should be like the abundant fruits in due season from the healthy tree planted near the living waters. The word of God needs to come alive within us and has to be experienced in our heart. This too is holy wisdom.
In Lent we are accustomed to pray more frequently and intensely. We need to be patient while praying and quietly let the word of God penetrate to our inmost self—our heart. When we first read the psalm, God is speaking to us. When we pray it , we are speaking to God. This day beckons us to be aware of the call of Psalm 1 to be persons of prayer, wisdom, and peaceful joy. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.