This Sunday’s Music: XIX Sunday of Ordinary Time

There is a progression happening in our weekly Scripture lessons: we’ve passed from learning to pray to our heavenly Father to focusing on eternal things, not the vanities of this world, and this week we are warned to trust in our faith because we know not when the LORD shall return again.

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This classic gospel hymn has quickly become a staple of musical worship at SFDS, but how much more applicable could it be than to today’s Second Reading? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:1-3, 13). Confidently we sing that we have “come this far by faith, / Learning on the LORD”. We trust in His holy word, and He has never failed us yet!


This Sunday we are again drawing upon that great gift of our Vatican II fathers: a common Psalm. Let’s look at the appointed antiphon for this Sunday: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalms‬ ‭33:12‬). And now the antiphon from common Psalm: “We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalms 100:3c). We’re following the theme pretty well, aren’t we now? We even have in today’s Gospel a direct reference to sheep: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke‬ ‭12:32‬).


Pet peeve? Why is this Andraé Crouch’s classic Soon and Very Soon relegated to an Advent hymn in the Catholic Church? It actually has nothing to do with the coming of the Baby Jesus… or even the Second Coming for argument’s sake. It has to do with our returning to our LORD after a life of faith and hope. In Hebrews 11, we hear that our ancestors, who have passed from this life of trust in the LORD, “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city" (16). Through the ultimate sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ, they have arrived there after their travail on this earth. Let’s sing Soon and Very Soon, and let’s sing it as the man wrote it!


Just as we restrict Soon and Very Soon to Advent, why do we Catholics like to restrict Holy Ghost music to Pentecost? The Spirit is forever flowing through our lives, guiding us and leading us. Let us pray always for His presence in our hearts and minds, on our lips and in our ears. Today we sing in the third verse a perfect complement and elaboration on today’s readings:

O, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, LORD, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, LORD, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, LORD, take a seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.


Originally, because of today’s Second Reading, we had planned on singing Richard Smallwood’s Hebrews 11; however, we ultimately opted for another of Andraé Crouch’s classics: Let the Church Say Amen. We have discussed in the past what “amen” means. Do you remember? It is equivalent to “Let it be so”, “It is true” or “I believe”. How better to seal our testament of faith in the word of God by saying that one simple Aramaic word? Amen.


This Kevin Yancy and Jerome Melcalfe hit from the 1970s holds great resonance with the bright, gospel spirit of SFDS but also with the message of today’s Gospel. We may not know the hour when Jesus will come, but it is our faith and our endurance in that faith that will prepare us for that time. Jesus says to us today: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). Take heed, then, of the words of our Master in Luke 12:40: “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not”. Through our faith, we have been changed, we have been lifted, and we want to be ready for that grand ol’ “Christian jubilee”. Sing, SFDS! Sing!