This Sunday’s Music: XXII Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last week, the table of the LORD was opened to all peoples, all nations, and we were encouraged to spread the Good News to all those waiting to hear it. This week, we are again brought before the feast in the Kingdom of God but are warned more strictly on how we are to enter.

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So, when we introduced Soon and Very Soon a few weeks ago, do you remember what we brought up as a major pet peeve? Just as Soon and Very Soon is reserved by most Catholic communities for Advent alone, why do we restrict settings of the Magnificat to only Marian celebrations and the fourth Sunday of Advent? There is a wealth of Scriptural wisdom in this passage from Luke I. In today’s Gospel — fittingly also from the Gospel according to Luke —, Jesus warns us in His parable: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke‬ ‭14:11‬). We hear in the Magnificat (or rendered by Leon C. Roberts as Mary’s Canticle) a similar line spoken by the Blessed Mother upon her visit to Elizabeth: “And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree” (Luke‬ ‭1:50, 52‬).


Today’s Psalm is perfectly responsive to the First Reading — hence the “responsorial” part of its title — and the other Scriptural lessons. Our God is “a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows” (Psalms 68:5) who provides for His children. So we sing in this setting by Chris Muglia from the Spirit & Psalms collection: “God, in Your goodness, You have made a home for the poor” (Psalms 68:10b). Like our humble and poor Israelite ancestors, to whose experience in the wilderness today’s Scriptures make constant reference, we look to the God of our salvation, our Father, our Provider.


In our Second Reading, we hear: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews‬ ‭12:22-23‬). Just as on that last day, in that great gittin’ up mornin’ when we shall arise saints in the Kingdom of God, so we come today and every day before the LORD with a humble, sincere heart.


What better words of humility are there than “I need Thee”? At every moment, we need the LORD, our Father who provides in our brightest hour and in our darkest hour. Today we cry out the words of this classic hymn with lyrics by Annie S. Hawkes and music by Robert Lowry. We echo our Israelite ancestors who wandered the desert but were given every good thing by the God who saves: “O, bless me now, my Saviour. I come to Thee”!


How great is our God? “For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name” (Luke 1:49). Today’s Responsorial Psalm, too, speaks of the greatness of the LORD’s deeds in our lives, or rather in the lives of our Jewish ancestors, whom He brought forth out of Egypt. Today, we sing this timeless praise and worship song by famed Christian artist Chris Tomlin. How Great Is Our God, sometimes paired with the classic hymn How Great Thou Art, is a shout of praise unto Jehovah-jireh from His holy people. Side note: listen to the version in our Youtube playlist. It is safe to say that, aside from Silent Night, Holy Night, this is one of the most widely recognised hymns throughout the entire world.


The crux of our Christian mission is summed up in the final lines of today’s Gospel: “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke‬ ‭14:13-14‬). We are sent week after week from the walls of our four-cornered church into the expanse of the world to tend to our brothers and sisters, especially among whom are those most in need of our gentle servitude. If we humble ourselves to the Will of the LORD and work in His name to bring justice to the needy world, then we will be exalted on the last day. It is the submission of our Blessed Mother to God’s Will at the Annunciation that has proven true these words from the Magnificat: “For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke‬ ‭1:48‬). So, let us be humble and do His work in this life; in such a way, we will sign ourselves up for the Christian jubilee. We know not when Jesus will come, but we do know that His favour is upon those that fear Him in His mercy and love. As we hear in our First Reading, “[t]he greater thou art, the more humble thyself, and thou shalt find favour before the LORD” (Sirach 3:18). So, sign me up!