This Sunday’s Music: XXVI Sunday of Ordinary Time
Similar to last week’s, this week’s Scripture passages are concerned with social justice and caring for our fellow brother and sister, and we hear a “The last shall be first, and the first last”-esque theme running through this Sunday’s readings. Worry not, O ye faithful liturgists: we’re still in Year C despite the reference to Matthew 20:16. We have the Gospel of Luke on our minds until Advent.
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Feast of the lord
Amos… O Amos! He is a fiery one, ain’t he? We heard him last week cry out against the upper class of Israel of his age who sought to “swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail” (Amos 8:4). He, this week, continues his impassioned rhetoric as he lampoons against “them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1a). Like the rich man in today’s Gospel reading, they “lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches” (Amos 6:4). They have zero concern with the “poor of the land” but are consumed with “many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” — among these “the love of money” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). “Therefore now”, says Amos, “shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed” (Amos 6:7). We have a gift, though: it is called the Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist, and we are welcomed in every day — but especially on Sundays, of course! — to a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, the feast of the LORD, where there are joy, love and peace to fill us as we serve the LORD with our lives.
(Text & Music: Richard Smallwood © 1999, Zomba Songs / T. Autumn Music. International Copyright Secured. All rights reserved.)
Last week, we heard in Psalm 113: “Praise ye the LORD … [who] raiseth up the poor out of dust, and lifteth the needy from the dunghill, that He may set him with princes, even with the princes of His people” (1a, 7-8). Today we are reminded of the concern of our God for the least and the marginalised among us: the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind, those that are bowed down, the righteous, the strangers, the fatherless and the widow. Why are most settings of this Psalm so sullen? In the LORD, the downtrodden are exalted. So, why do these settings not celebrate the joy that comes from the salvation of the God of covenants? “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalms 146:5). So, praise ye the LORD, SFDS! Let our souls bless His holy Name!
(Text: Psalm 146. Music: Dylan Wyka © Dylan Wyka, 2016. All rights reserved.)
Our God is everywhere at all times… in everything and everyone we see and know. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). As we sing in this upbeat song, “we lift our voice to bless Your Name”, and so we do by recognising the presence of Christ in our neighbours, our brothers and our sisters, our fellow worshippers at Mass on Sunday. If we are with God, then He is with us, and even when we feel He is not near, there He is at our side. Let us not be as the godless of Amos’ time, who were “not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:6b), but let us serve one another in the spirit of our ever-present and loving God and so usher in the Kingdom.
(Text & Music: Anonymous.)
In the rich man’s conversation with Abraham, we hear the Saint warning the man that the man’s brothers, who have not yet passed to the next life, “have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them … If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16: 29, 31). Paul, too, warns us that we “keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14). The statues of the LORD are “a lamp unto [our] feet and a light unto [our] path” as we sing in this standard in the pan-Christian praise and worship repertoire. If we fix our minds and hearts on faith in the LORD and the commandments of our God, in particular the Golden Rule, then we will make ourselves worthy of eternity in Heaven.
(Text: Based on Psalm 119:105; Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith. Music: Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith © 1984 Meadowgreen Music Co. / Bug and Bear Music.)
I SHALL WEAR A CROWN
Today’s Gospel is a startling wake-up call to those “at ease” (Amos 6:1) in the world. We hear Abraham rebuking the rich man who finds himself in Hell: “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:25). What more have we in this life than our faith in that blessed assurance from our LORD Jesus Christ? We, one day, shall sit in glory with all the saints and martyrs who traversed this pilgrim’s journey before us. In the words of the traditional African-African text in a chillingly beautiful arrangement by Trey McLaughlin, we are confident that we, like Lazarus, “shall put on [our] robe, tell the story how [we] made it over, soon as [we] get home”.
(Text: Traditional. Music: Trey McLaughlin.)
SIGN ME UP
St. Paul, in today’s Second Reading, encourages us the faithful: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12). Each of us has been ordained a servant and minister of God, apostolically charged with spreading His Good News throughout the world by means of our faith and the faith that we show through our deeds of justice and mercy. We are blest with this life, in which we know, love and serve the LORD our God, but we strive ultimately to be welcomed “in [Abraham’s] bosom” (Luke 16:23) and to walk “in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). So, sign us up for that Christian jubilee! The LORD has lifted us, and we “wanna be ready when Jesus comes”. P.S. If you want a sneak peak of our 11:00 choir singing it, here’s our rehearsal: http://bit.ly/2lxD2VH.
(Text & Music: Jerome Metcalfe, Kevin Yancy © 1979, Kevin Yancy & Jerome Metcalfe.)