This Sunday’s Music: XIV Sunday of Ordinary Time
It’s hot, it’s humid, and yet, it’s heavenly here at SFDS. Why? Because we are blessed to come together as a community of faith, a family here on E 96th St. in Manhattan. Today, we are charged to rejoice in the world, bringing peace and charity to all God’s people.
You can check out our music on our weekly Youtube playlist below and also by visiting our growing Youtube channel (at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDSd2zUrlJlm4W_wA5RqmQ):
Do you remember when we last heard our First Reading from Isaiah 66? Yes! “Laetare” Sunday, i.e. the fourth Sunday of Lent, when we Catholics deck out the Internet with our best Mean Girls rip-off memes because we wear rose — although we all know it’s really pink. And that Sunday takes its name from the first word from today’s reading in Latin: “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that mourn for her” (Isaiah 66:10). Oooh… and rejoice we will, SFDS! Lift up those voices and sing this hymn by Mr. Kenneth W. Louis!
There is a lot of “joy” talk on this fourteenth Sunday… and 66. You know us here at SFDS: if you listen to this setting by Rory Cooney on our weekly playlist, you already know that we will definitely bring out the “joy” in our own rousing SFDS style. And what a strong statement, too! We hear the following:
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
Sing forth the honour of His Name:
Make His praises glorious.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God,
And I will declare what He hath done for my soul.
Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me. (Psalm 66:1-2, 16, 20)
Marvellous are the deeds of the Lord, and we are an apostolic people, charged to bring His Word into all the earth. Let the earth cry out! Let the very substance, from which we are made, shout forth His glory!
YOU CAN’T BEAT GOD GIVING
Today we are singing for the first time a famous gospel tune notably recorded by The Caravans and penned by Ms. Doris Akers. It is used very often for the Offertory, and so shall we. And how can we beat God’s giving? In the lyrics, we hear:
You can’t beat God giving
No matter how you try.
Just as sure as you are living
And the LORD is in heaven on high,
The more you give,
The more He gives to you.
Just keep on giving
Because it’s really true
That you can beat God giving
No matter how you try.
As aforementioned, we are an apostolic people sent forth to bring the Good News unto all the peoples of the earth, but as we heard last week from Paul, “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14). God the Father reconciled the entire world unto Himself through the perfect sacrifice of His Son, the ultimate act of love. No, there can be no greater love “no matter how you try”, and yet, we are called, charged, ordained to emulate that love by helping our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we. “As long as [we] are living”, we are called to be Christ in the midst of a world that needs His love. So, keep on giving! As you process down the aisle with that money, which you give to help the work of your parish and our greater community, remember that you are a vessel for God’s work in this world.
In addition to a lot of talk about joy, we today hear “peace” over and over again. It begins in our First Reading: “For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to [Jerusalem] like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12). In the Gospel versicle sandwiched inside the Gospel Acclamation (or the “Alleluia”/”Hallelujah”), we hear Paul and Timothy tell us to “[l]et the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15). And in our Gospel lesson, we hear: “And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again” (Luke 10:5-6). Today we sing Peace, that beautifully eerie and oft-forgotten hymn from the 70s by Gregory Norbet of Weston Priory. Also, we encourage you to pay close attention to the verses and the wealth of comfort in those words. Yes, there is peace in the joy that we receive from the Lord. To echo Paul, let that peace rule your life, that you may cry out to the Lord in the world, giving to His children and rejoicing in His word.
LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN
This is actually one of the final compositions of Mr. Andraé Crouch, the famed writer of such classics as Soon and Very Soon, My Tribute and Take Me Back, and so powerful it is! We have discussed in the past how often we recite words and prayers and such without fully comprehending what we are stating. On Trinity Sunday (click here to read more), we discussed what “amen” means and how it is an affirmation of our belief, of its truth. And today, let us, the Church and people of joy and peace, sing our “amen” with full confidence.
BLESS THAT WONDERFUL NAME
In our Second Reading, St. Paul makes an undeniably bold statement:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our LORD Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the LORD Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. (Galatians 6:14-18)
Side note: modern translators tend to render his use here of “glory” as “boast”. So, what is the mark of Jesus? The joy and the peace that we receive in His Cross! “Even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name”, cry the seventy-two appointed by Jesus in our Gospel passage. Yes! There is power, there is healing, there is joy, there is peace in that wonderful name. With rejoicing, bless that wonderful name of Jesus in all the world! As says our Lord in Luke 10:20, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. Amen!