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Striking Scripture

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
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.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6,8-9
R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9C-11, 16-17
Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Gospel: John 2:13-22
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

NAB

nov 9

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.

It might have been one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized as a child, right behind John 3:16. In those days, I memorized Scripture for stickers, pencils, pads and other Sunday School rewards, stacking up my piles of treasures on my dresser at home as evidence of my Biblical prowess. I memorized the books of the Bible and was acknowledged by my peers as one of the fastest when it came time to look something up.

Now, as an adult, I have a lot of Scripture in my head. Almost every day, something reminds me of a Bible verse, and I still know where to find many of them.

But do their words make it past my head and into my heart?

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.

When I get a worrisome bill or some bad news, I admit that God isn’t the first place I usually turn for refuge and strength. God’s ever-present help isn’t often the first thing I think of. No, I usually start spinning strategies and solutions in my mind, trying to see how I can solve the problem on my own before I consider that God might have a better way for me.

As long as the words of the Bible stay on the page in front of us, they don’t have to change our behavior. That’s easier. Reading the words of scripture daily is a good start toward allowing them to transform us, but it’s only getting part of the way there. Truly meditating on Scripture means taking it into our hearts, letting it take root there and allowing it to change us from the inside.

That process can take a long, long time . . . a lifetime, even.

Maybe someday, I’ll be able to remember God as my refuge in the moments when I first start to feel anxious. Until that day, I’ll have to rely on my favorite office supply—the post it note—to keep the words of God before me as reminders of His constant love and care.

photo by Sara Miller

The next time a spiritual quote or verse of Scripture strikes you as especially meaningful, write it down on a post-it note or pad and put it where you’ll see it every day. As you read your special verse, ask the Holy Spirit to help you move it from lovely words on paper to a lovely truth in your heart.

Abbey Dupuy is a homeschooling mama to preschooler twins, a first grader and a new baby. You can find out more about her here.

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