TWENTY EIGHT SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
This week, my attention is drawn to the Responsorial Psalm on this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Times because it is such a powerful prayer of confidence and trust in our God. It is taken from Psalm 23; a psalm that states that we should not be shaken by adversities in this life because we worship a God who is the Lord of deliverance; a God who can save, no matter how desperate the situation may be or how bad things are.
This Psalm states that the Lord is my shepherd (as my shepherd, the responsibility of my safety and my wellbeing is in His hands) and therefore, that there is nothing I shall want, for fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose, and that near restful waters (a place with a calming effect, a place of meditative disposition, a place for a spiritual encounter) He leads me to give rest to my wandering spirit.
The Psalmist goes on to state that when it comes to everyday struggles in life, the good Lord will provide me “with guidance for the sake of His name” (notice that this is not for my sake but for His own name sake—so it does not depend on my condition or righteousness). And because God’s saving power in my life is for the sake of His Name, the Psalmist is bold to assert that “Even if I walk in the valley of darkness”, (that is, those moments when there is trouble everywhere and I can’t seem to find my way through the maze of life; those moments when I am worn out and weary and my life looks like it is being overrun by negativities, trials, and tribulations; those moments when sickness strikes and treatment and therapy not only seem terrifying but the healing process does not progress as anticipated and the medications that are given seem to make things even worse; those moments when my friends pull back from me because of my situation and the reliance on others for care and help dissipate, leading to feelings of loneliness, discouragement, despondency, alienation, and abandonment; those moments when the shame of my past sins burden my heart with regrets and life-problems are mistaken for divine punishment; those moments when no one seems to understand how I feel and the strength to go on, to pray, or even to trust in God, becomes overrun my cynicism—in all these moments) “I will still fear no evil because He [God] is there, at my side, with His rod and His staff to give me courage”—the courage to go on; to get through my difficulties and emerge victorious; an overcomer, and a witness to His saving power.
For all these reasons, therefore, the Psalmist concludes that “Only goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come”. Let us say “Amen” to that!
I truly recommend that we should add this psalm to our daily prayer routine. I pray that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may enlighten the eyes of our hearts, so that we may know what is the hope that belongs to us as His children; I pray that my God may fully supply whatever you need, in accordance with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus! To our God and Father, to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit be glory forever and ever. Amen.