FRIDAY OF THE THIRTY THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Revelation 10:8-11

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

Psalm 119: 14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

I rejoice in following your statutes

as one rejoices in great riches.

Your statutes are my delight;

they are my counselors.

The law from your mouth is more precious to me

than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

How sweet are your words to my taste,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your statutes are my heritage forever;

they are the joy of my heart.

I open my mouth and pant,

longing for your commands.

Luke 19:45-48

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.

(NRSVCE)

Meditation

In today’s readings, the psalmist describes the beauty of ascribing to God’s word. His word is described as having riches, being sweet, bringing counsel, offering joy, and being an inheritance. The word of the Lord provides for our current well being, gives us deep and lasting assurance of God’s presence, and shows as where we are headed when we will spend eternity with Christ. The gospel shows how the word of Christ gave protection as the crowds were drawn to his speech. But in Revelation, John consumes a sweet scroll that turns sour. In order to know the good news, we need to understand the bad news.

It is joyful and refreshing to meditate on God’s mercy, but it is sobering to contemplate His justice. When we stop and consider the evils that surround us or to contemplate how we turn away from God and eternal separation from God in hell, our stomach’s should turn sour. We should dread the possibility of our brothers and sisters losing their souls. We should be overwhelmed by the harm caused by evil enshrined in our laws and constitutions. Understanding the horror of sin should compel us to bring truth to those who need to be saved.

Jesus’ act of clearing the temple was just as much an act of mercy as it was of justice. He brought correction to the people. The outermost courts of the temple where designed for Gentiles and foreigners to come and pray. It was the one space for a non-Jew to seek God so Jesus corrected those buying and selling for their impropriety. Only in correction can they find an opportunity to repent.

Today, we are called to be both comforted and challenged by God’s word. We are comforted in remembering His mercy and taking counsel in Him. We are consoled and experience joy in His presence. But we are challenged to speak truth to those around us before they must face judgement.

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