Monday, April 10, 2006

Palm Sunday

I was really struck by the first reading we heard at Mass yesterday, from Isaiah 50: 4-7

The Lord has given me a disciple's tongue. So that I may know how
to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.

I am given the ability to speak by God. He gives it to me for a reason - not to make noise, not to hear the sound of my own voice, not to ask for things for myself, but to reply to the wearied. 'Reply' suggests that I should speak in answer to others. To the wearied. Who are the wearied? I'm feeling tired right now, but I don't think that's the kind of weary meant.

Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen
like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

My duty each day is to listen. That's the primary function, first thing in the morning. The emphasis is a little scary - to hear, to listen, opened my ear. Compare that to speech!

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.

Not running away. But also, not wildly embracing this. I get the sense that this is a duty, the right thing to do. So it will be done.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be ashamed.

I like the first half. It's straightforward and uncomplicated - listen, speak to help people who need it. The next, not so much. It seems hard and lonely - one person against everyone else, who actively hate. But the last bit makes it all okay. God is there - what more could you need or want than to be on God's side?

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