Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Malachi 3:19-20; Psalm 98:5-9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19)
Joining All Creation in Praising the Lord
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth. (Psalm 98:4)
Rivers “clapping their hands.” Mountains “shouting for joy.” What extraordinary images these poetic descriptions of nature evoke for us! These have got to be some of the most beautiful verses in the entire psalter!
The Bible resounds with the worship of God. From its pages echo the voices of countless men and women, as well as angels, who offer cries and prayers of homage to the Lord. And as today’s psalm shows us, even nature adds its voice to the chorus.
Many Church Fathers have seen this psalm as a joyous celebration of the coming of Christ in his incarnation. When the Son of God entered into his world, the whole of creation sang and rejoiced. The Fathers also saw this psalm as pointing to Jesus’ final coming. That’s why we pray this psalm so frequently during the liturgical year.
According to Scripture scholar Jean-Pierre Prévost, Psalm 98 is “an ‘unfinished symphony’ meant to encourage among the faithful the joyful awaiting of God’s coming.” But we are not just to wait passively for his coming, Prévost says. We should “join the chorus and the orchestra in such an uplifting symphony in honor of our God.”
All creation—every human being as well as all of nature—has a part to play in this great unfinished symphony. Each one of us has countless reasons to join the rivers and mountains in their song of praise. So go ahead and sing to the Lord! Tell him how much you love him. Let him know how eager you are to see him face-to-face. Tell him how deeply you long for him to come with saving justice and deliver you from all temptation. And while you’re at it, invite the created world to join you as you “sing a new song to the Lord” (Psalm 98:1)!
“Lord, open my eyes to see the wonders of your creation and your incarnation. I want to join my voice with nature’s great symphony of praise to you.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
In the first reading, the prophet Malachi warns of the end times, and promises that the Lord will bring healing to those who “fear” his name, but to those who are proud and evildoers, they will become “stubble.” This “fear,” of course, means honor, reverence, respect, and love for the Lord. It also reflects a desire to please him in all things. How would you rate your fear of the Lord? What steps can you take to allow this kind of “fear of the Lord” to affect more of your speech and actions?
The responsorial psalm also speaks of the Lord’s coming and of the joy of all creation in expectation of that event. What are your feelings and reactions when considering the end of time and Jesus’ second coming? Are you filled with a certain excitement and anticipation or with some trepidation and concern? Why?
In the second reading, St. Paul describes how hard he worked to be a model of a Christian man of God to the Thessalonians. How important is it to you to be the model of a Christian man of God to your family, and to others? What are some ways you can better model Jesus Christ to them?
In the Gospel, Jesus also speaks of the destruction of the temple and the end times, but tells us that our perseverance will save us from danger. This requires a relationship with the Lord that is steady, on going, and constant? What are the circumstances that cause your relationship with the Lord to waiver?
Jesus also tells us not to fear, even in the midst of persecution, because: “It will lead to your giving testimony” to him and he will be with you. Is this your thinking in the midst of a trial? Do you usually turn first to the Lord? Why or why not? If this is an area that you struggle with, what can you do about it?
The meditation ends with these words, “Each one of us has countless reasons to join the rivers and mountains in their song of praise. So go ahead and sing to the Lord! Tell him how much you love him. Let him know how eager you are to see him face-to-face. Tell him how deeply you long for him to come with saving justice and deliver you from all temptation. And while you’re at it, invite the created world to join you as you “sing a new song to the Lord” (Psalm 98:1)!” What are some reasons why you too want to “join the rivers and mountains in their song of praise”?
Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to always “Sing praise to the Lord” and “sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point