Psalm (Read Ps 113:1-2, 4-8)
The psalmist gives us a glimpse of the future of the poor who put their trust in God. We find this contrasts sharply with the future of those dishonestly rich, described in our First Reading: “[God] raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill He lifts up the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of His own people.” Better to be poor, with only God as our hope, than dishonestly rich, without God’s friendship forever (“blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”). Temporal poverty won’t last. Therefore, we can sing, “Praise the Lord, Who lifts up the poor.”
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading (Read 1 Tim 2:1-8)
This reading can seem unrelated to our Gospel theme of the love of God rather than money. Although it is not specifically about wealth or poverty, it has the great value of describing for us the kind of life that really matters, the life God wants for all men. St. Paul asks that prayers be made for “everyone” and especially for “kings and for all in authority.” Why? “That we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” This is the goal of our temporal life—a preparation for the next one in eternity. The civil order should allow that to be possible for all of us, because this is “good and pleasing to God our Savior.” Civil unrest, persecution, unjust laws, and, yes, love of money can all put this kind of life at risk. St. Paul wants all of us to pray to this end, so that we can live “without anger or argument.” To serve God and not money makes us much more fit to pursue it.
Possible response: Lord Jesus, I long to live a “quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” Help me recognize what takes me away from this and to avoid it.
image: Hagia Sophia, Turkey. Detail of a Byzantine Mosaic. Vladimir Wrangel / Shutterstock.com.
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