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Thursday March 26, 2020

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Some time ago we marked this day on our Lenten calendar as the day for our annual Lenten Parish Communal Penance Sacrament. With all the cancellations taking place due to the pandemic the Lord changed what we had planned but he left this as a day of giving him thanks and praise for his merciful love. So we want to observe this day for that and in the process to realize that he is making this day when he shows us that the mercy and holiness we have received from him along with this people is a sign that he loves us and that our sins are forgiven.

To do this here we are going to consider one of his psalms of mercy and in the accompanying “blog” on this home page take a look at the wonderful page of the New Testament where Jesus forgives Peter for denying him at the time of the crucifixion.

Psalm 130, the famous De profundis, Out of the depths…, is one of the penitential psalms — part of which will be used this coming Sunday in connection with the raising of Lazarus Gospel. At that time we will join the Church in reciting (or singing along with the Man of La Mancha, see YouTube) these verses:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.

I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.

For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.

This brief and powerful hymn originated when God’s people gathered in pilgrimage to go his Temple dwelling in Jerusalem to praise him for his faithful merciful love of his people. Our Communal Sacrament of Penance is meant to do the same. God shows mercy to us as a people. We can see this how we have been brought together in the present crisis and together to beg his mercy which leads us to the praise him together as we wait for the dawn. The trusting in his word is the relying on his “promise.” Keeping his promise of mercy, which he is doing, tells us that he will be true to all his promises, e.g. eternal life. The NABR translates if you, Lord, mark iniquities… as if you, Lord, keep account of our sins… expresses more clearly that God never stops loving us, even when we have sinned. The purpose of God’s mercy and love is that we thank him and praise him — But with you is forgiveness, so that you may be revered. This is the day to join the Church in singing God’s praises for showing us his merciful covenant love over the years.

You may wish to see a more recent translations of this psalm in the revised New American Bible, http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/130 or the New Jerusalem Bible, https://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=23&bible_chapter=130.