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The Response

If you were fortunate enough to make it to Mass today (I was not), you heard this Psalm refrain:

The Lord is faithful in all his words (Psalm 145: 13 ESV)

If you’re like me, when you do make it to Mass, nine times out of ten, the Psalm refrain goes in one ear and out the other. Maybe I’m distractedly still thinking about the First Reading, or more likely I’m distracted by my crazy toddler, or someone sitting in front of me, or my hungry stomach. Maybe I don’t have a missal to look at and am struggling to make out what the words of the refrain even are. Instead of hearing God’s promises proclaimed I’m hearing the scattered mumblings of other mass-goers. I go through the entire Mass without any notion of what that refrain was.

During the Liturgy of the Word God is speaking to us, His people. And during the Responsorial Psalm, we have the chance to respond to God; to offer Him thanksgiving, praise, and all the things we carry in our hearts.

These are some of the Psalm refrains from the last week:

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:2

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1

Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. Psalm. 24:6

The earth us full of the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 33:5

And today we say:

The Lord is faithful in all his words.

But today this is a hard response to voice. Do I really believe that God is faithful, when I see friends struggling with illness and loss, marriages falling apart around me, and family members dealing with unemployment? In my own family there is uncertainty about the future, and stress about finances. Do I believe that the Lord will be faithful to us through it all?

When my own faith is weak I gain encouragement from the Psalmist himself, King David, a man after God’s own heart. He started out humbly as a shepherd. He too struggled with temptation and sin. He had one son taken from him, while another son sought to steal his kingdom and take his life. But despite all this, he always came back to a posture of praise.

The Lord is faithful in all his words

And holy in all his works.

The Lord lifts up all who are falling

And raises up all who are bowed down.

-Psalm 145:13-14

When you feel like you are falling, know that the Lord sees you, and “He is mighty to save.” (Zeph 3:17) He is a faithful God who has already destroyed death and all our sins on the cross. This doesn’t mean that every aspect of our lives will or should be easy. But He sees the suffering, loss and brokenness, and he will lift us up. And so with confidence and joy we can proclaim:

The Lord is faithful in all his works.

Spend a few moments reflecting on the ways God has been faithful in your life.

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Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, musician, knitter, and gardener from St. Paul, MN. Read more about her here.

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