August 4, 2019

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Psalm 128

1 A Song of Ascents. Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
5 The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!

My Old Testament professor would hit the roof when “blessed” is mistranslated as “happy”. I can hear him say “They are the Beatitudes, not the Be-Happy-Tudes!”

When good souls suffer childlessness… when a godly family suffers the loss of a child… they are anything but happy but they can be blessed. The inscrutable Providence of God permits us to share in the Cross. Words cannot unravel the mystery of the Cross. Words help only so much. We can marvel at Our Lord’s Sacred Heart and Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart full of love even in the darkest hour. When we also refuse to let the terrors of the world to take our eyes off our Father in heaven, we live by Faith.

When we try to make sense of everything here and now, our words will be worse than futile. The pre-Christian interpretation would blame every misfortune on someone’s sin. Mindful of each of us being a sinner, save Mary and her Divine Son, we still can’t accuse the innocent of bringing disaster on themselves. A childless couple should not have to suffer being accused of contracepting. A soul in torment should not be left to compound its anguish with torturous self-recrimination.

We live in fallen world in which all elements of the universe are afflicted by the effects of Original Sin. Only the Word of God can give life and heal souls. Only the Word of God can repair the damage wrought by the Evil One who lured Adam and Eve into failing to honor and worship the Creator.

After Psalm 128, listen to the next words of Sacred Scripture: “‘Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth,’ let Israel now say ‘Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.’” (Psalm 129,1-2)

The blessing of the Lord be upon us!
Fr. Christopher J. Pollard