This Sunday’s Music: XXI Sunday of Ordinary Time

We continue in our weekly lessons, and this week, we are encouraged to persevere in our faith and in that joy which comes from our faith, for we are commissioned to go out and tell the Good News to all the nations.

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In today’s Gospel, we hear: “And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last” (Luke 13:29-30). The feast will be spread before us at the table in the kingdom of God. But there’s something more amazing still: every time we come to the Supper of the LORD, we are nourished as a foretaste of that glory which awaits us. Let us sing loudly and proudly this song by Richard Smallwood, which is based on an old gospel tune (for the original tune, click here).


Today’s Responsorial Psalm is the shortest of all 150 Psalms in the Hebrew Bible: a whole 2 verses structured in a very musical, poetic fashion. The antiphon appointed in the Lectionary is one that sits at the core of our Christian faith: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19)… well, it’s “tell the Good News”, but we were quoting Scripture now. Needless to say, we are commissioned to preach the Good News, “for His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth forever” (Psalms 117:2). So, praise Him, SFDS! Praise Him with this rendition of Psalm 117 by the famed liturgical composer David Haas. Hallelujah!


Last week, we introduced this song by Kirk Franklin, and this week, we sing it again. Sure, we should sing it again: it is uplifting and empowering, and we should take one more week to learn the melody. But it actually ties in very well with this week’s readings, as well. We are missionaries of the Good News of our Master and Teacher, Jesus, and we have been ordained through our Baptism to go out and to gather the LORD’s people into the Kingdom. No matter what may be our present struggles, we shall not forget the words in our Second Reading: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:10-12).


The LORD is good and merciful, and every time we enter His holy temple, every time we come to His table, we hear of His lovingkindness and taste His goodness. In today’s Gospel, the LORD says to us: “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are, then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets” (Luke 13:25-26). Forget not that we must “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many … will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). We must persevere in our faith and trust that He will open doors for us, doors that we perhaps could not see. Perhaps, we were blind in our lack of faith. Perhaps, it just was not yet our time to see those doors. So, brothers and sisters, taste and see the goodness of the LORD as we sing this iconic song by Kenneth W. Louis!


Two Richard Smallwood songs in one Sunday? Bless the LORD, O my soul! As we hear in our Second Reading, “whom the LORD loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). We are encouraged not to “despise … the chastening of the LORD” nor to “faint when thou art rebuked of Him” (Hebrews 12:5). “While troubles rise”, we who love the LORD will surely “hasten to His throne”. He will pity every groan. So, love the LORD as children do their Father, and take up the cross, which He presents us.


There is no greater message in today’s Scriptures than this: we must go out and make disciples of all the nations, ushering in the Kingdom by building up the faith of our brothers and sisters. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”, says the LORD in John 14:6. Today, we are reminded over and over of that great commission, which we received at Pentecost. So, let us sing with jubilation this hymn by W. Clifford Petty. In our preaching, we live truly the message of our First Reading: “And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations … to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:20). Go ye therefore, friends, and face the troubles that rise so that all may come to His holy mountain, singing Hallelujah!