The Mouths of the Liars

Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. It is a psalm of David when he was in the Desert of Judah. I often turn to it when I am troubled and read the verses over and over. It is a tonic for me. While reading it the other day I came to meditate on its final verse, “the mouths of the liars will be silenced.” Thousands are dying each day of Covid-19 and yet some politicians, pundits and citizens are spreading misinformation designed to create doubt of its deadliness. Some of these people are driven by greed. Others believe they are immune. Some see quarantine, lock down and social distancing as anathema. Other see these new regulations as infringement on their civil liberties. Whatever their beef they are spreading lies and falsehoods which put the lives of everyone in danger.

Many years ago I read this quote from Hebrews.

The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

If Hebrews is correct then perhaps there is power in Psalm 63 too and the mouths of the liars will be silenced. In the meantime, wear a mask, keep your distance, pray for each other.

We thirst for you in this dry and weary land

Last night on my way home I turned to look at the setting sun and snapped this picture. There is no special filter but a beam of light appears to be streaming from the sun toward me. It’s my habit to pray as I walk and my prayers had focused on the pandemic and those who are the caretakers along with those who are suffering and dying. There is a time in all prayer when I have to ask myself “Is there a higher power” who really cares? Do these prayers make a difference? I read the psalms from time to time and often there is a conversation implied. One of my favorites is Psalm 63 which was written by David in the Desert of Judah.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. –

Psalm 63

The psalm is about being stranded in the desert away from one’s family. There’s a connection for me with the psalm. Many times in my life when I have felt alone and afraid I have turned to this psalm and read it again. The beam of light in the photo invited a connection too. It signified an answer to prayer.

My soul is thirsting for you

Today one of the scripture readings at Mass was the 63rd Psalm. Today’s Mass at Mt. Irenaeus was offered for the repose of the soul of Rachel Kotula. Rachel was the mother of Br. Joseph Kotula, OFM who rose to read this psalm today. As Brother Joe read the responsorial psalm his voice cracked at times. I’m sure it was because he loved his Mom and I know that he loves God too! Br. Joe is very human person and it was he who helped me to feel at home when I first came to Mt. Irenaeus thirteen years ago. It was Joe who helped me to discern my Secular Franciscan vocation. He is one of my dearest friends. Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. It is a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God

My soul is always thirsting for you, O Lord.

The king shall rejoice

I have written often of Psalm 63. It is one of my favorites in the Bible. It is one written by King David when he was in the wilderness being pursued by Saul. Personal wildernesses come from time to time for all of us and when mine do I return to this psalm. I read it and meditate on it in the watches of the night. I look at the passage metaphorically because I think that is how it was written. The Bible is full of metaphors for life and this is one more that reminds me that God is in charge.

But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by the Lord shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be shut!

The flow from the sanctuary

This morning found me out the door early for a change. It had been almost three Sundays since I’d made the trip from Franklinville to Mt. Irenaeus.  I’ve fighting off the flu and now a real tough chest infection. I’ve been down the last few weeks in a slump I haven’t been able to shake. I’ve been in the desert again.  Today was gray and cold but I donned my hat and coat and climbed into the car.  I stopped in Cuba, New York at the Giant Food Mart there to pick up some food to bring to the Mountain then climbed back into my car and took the old Friendship Road which is for slow pokes like me.  I prefer driving at 40 or 50 mph and that invites a lot of hand gestures as well as aggressive drivers tailgating. I frequently pull over to let them by.  I finally got to Hydetown Road and made my way up the dirt road to Holy Peace. Today my drive was even slower and more deliberate and once I broke onto Roberts Road my pace slowed even more.

After parking my car, putting the  produce in the refrigerator and greeting Br. Joe, Br. Kevin and some of the students who were in the House of Peace, I made my way slowly up the hill to the chapel.  I was greeted by Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM who asked me to do the first reading at today’s Eucharist. “It’s from Ezekiel,” he said.  I walked slowly to the front of the chapel and picked up the lectionary to review the first reading.   These words written thousands of years ago spoke to me today as though they were written by someone who knows me well.

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”–Ezekiel 47

I have been dry, very dry and I needed the water in the sanctuary today. Psalm 63 has been with me a lot lately and often I think of it. I keep it bookmarked on my Blackberry and look at it often.

O God, you are my God– for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.–Psalm 63

Deo Gratias.

The king shall rejoice..

Psalm 63 is one of my favorites and my favorite version of it is in the King James Bible. The psalm was written by David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. These verses have been with me for two days now.

But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.