Saturday in ordinary time: ‘the heavenly [person]’

I am bound by the vows I have made you.
O God, I will offer you praise
for you have rescued my soul from death,
you kept my feet from stumbling
that I may walk in the presence of God
and enjoy the light of the living.

Psalm 55 [56]: 13-14

. . .

I was glad to hear Msgr John’s reflections on the readings for today, from 1 Corinthinans (‘the heavenly man’) and Luke’s gospel (the sower parable): believe and persevere. Believe in the change that only God can work, and keep on the road toward it. Not often have I heard such a clear, direct and concise homily.

Interestingly, though, there is this other reading: the Psalm. Usually it seems to go under the radar, and yet there it is today, perfectly connecting the heavenly orientation of 1 Corinthinans with the perseverance of the ‘good soil’ in Luke’s gospel. The obedience, or perseverance in God’s Word (yep, I mean the Word of the Father), originates in the saving act of God and looks to the presence of God as its destination. Pressing forward with a good heart and a steady will requires both memory and hope. The soul who knows the salvation of God, who has experienced God’s rescue, anticipates God’s presence in hope. What strikes me about the Psalm is the way in which it subverts any inclination to think that either the belief or the perseverance comes from ourselves and not from the God who rescues us. It is the Lord who ‘rescue[s] my soul from death and [keeps] my feet from stumbling’.

I still find the mystery of the heavenly person vexing: it seems I see not so much in a mirror dimly, but rather remain in darkness. Fortunately it is a mystery, and not a complicated algebra problem I simply lack the intellectual skill to solve. Because in the end it is, after all, grace.

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