The book of Sirach, from which some of my favorite scripture passages come, provides the Old Testament daily mass readings for the last week or so. Today is no exception:
Come to our aid, O God of the universe,
look upon us, show us the light of your mercies,
and put all the nations in dread of you!
Thus they will know, as we know,
that there is no God but you, O Lord.
Give new signs and work new wonders.
Gather all the tribes of Jacob,
that they may inherit the land as of old,
Show mercy to the people called by your name;
Israel, whom you named your firstborn.
Take pity on your holy city,
Jerusalem, your dwelling place.
Fill Zion with your majesty,
your temple with your glory.
Give evidence of your deeds of old;
fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name,
Reward those who have hoped in you,
and let your prophets be proved true.
Hear the prayer of your servants,
for you are ever gracious to your people;
and lead us in the way of justice.
Thus it will be known to the very ends of the earth
that you are the eternal God. (Sir 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17)
Sirach pleads to the Lord for His mercy, to show himself to the world so all will come to believe.
Don’t we do the same? As we shake our heads when looking at the crazy things that go on in the world, we know the answer lies only in God, in man’s relationship with God pouring over into his relationships with others – person to person, one heart at a time. “When, O Lord, when will they know you?”
One of my favorite verses from Sirach is 2:18, “…fall into the hands of the Lord and not into the hands for men, for equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows.” These words simply take my breath away. When I think of the majesty of God, His grandeur and omnipotence, and then equate it to His mercy, I’m left in awe. Just think about it for a minute…think about a time when the beauty of nature left you awestruck…you know those moments: a new baby, the mountains or the sea, music, tenderness. Go back there and remember how you felt, and now say to yourself, “God’s mercy is equal to this.” Then…thank Him.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever! (Ps 136) Anne