Scripture: Lectionary 428. Aug.29. I Thessalonians 3:7-13. Psalm 90: 3-4,12-13,14.17. Matthew 24:42-51:
Paul’s words are so prayerful in this epistle because of the faith and love of the Thessalonians. He thanks God for them and encourages them throughout the writing to stand firm in their faith and to practice love for one another. He is constantly turning them to God while thanking the Lord for them. He is consoled in his difficulties because of their deep faith and we, in turn, are consoled by his inspired words. We are exhorted to stand firm in our faith, a phrase that Paul may have taken from the prophet Isaiah. Paul continues on while giving thanks to God for the joy the Thessalonians bring to him. We bring joy to the people we know when our faith is strong and our love of one another is constant. Like the community or church of Thessalonica, we are to be a community of faithful believers who love and who are in wait of the coming of the Lord Jesus. Paul expected this coming to be in his lifetime, we, however, live with the conviction that he will come in God’s determined moment in the history of salvation.
Psalm 90 is one of the finest wisdom prayers in the Bible and it helps us to pray with Paul as he did for the Thessalonians. We pray, “ Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy. …Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” These prayers and thoughts are similar to the book of Deuteronomy where we learn always to “choose life” by loving the covenant God has made with us and which God has clarified through the commandments. One of the Church musicians of the past named Isaac Watts composed the song “O God our Help in Ages Past” based on this beautiful wisdom Psalm.
After reading the Gospel for today, Psalm 90 would help us to understand what Jesus is making us think about when he tells us to be awake and await for the coming of the Lord. “Stay awake, for you cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”
On a personal level these thoughts of Psalm 90 make me thankful for each day of my life. The perspective of the Psalm helps me appreciate life in all its moments and its fullness, while recognizing how fragile and how quickly my life is and moves on. Very few reach the 90s and fewer 100 years. It is wise then to follow the practical advice of “taking one day at a time.” In so doing, we touch a bit of the wisdom of this Psalm . It is wise that we ask for God’s blessings and graces this day and every day that we awaken. And at the end of the day, may we able to pray with the Psalmist, “May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us, to confirm the work we have done.” Amen. (Psalm 90:17).
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM