Pondering Today's Word

Hangad is a Filipino a capella group heard hear performing You Are Near. Search YouTube for more of Hangad!

It's been a while since I've offered a post on Pondering Today's Word. The psalm from today's Mass is Psalm 139 which many will recognize in the musical setting, You Are Near (see below). Composer Dan Schutte beautifully distills the meaning and language of Ps. 139 but chose not in include the sense of several verses near the psalm's end:

If only you would destroy the wicked, O God,
and the bloodthirsty would depart from me!
Deceitfully they invoke your name;
your foes swear faithless oaths.
Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you?
Those who rise against you, do I not loathe?
With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own.

These are strong words and speak of the troubles that the enemy can bring. The psalmist is not reluctant to bring his problems and suffering before God. It's important, when reading some of the most beautiful passages in scripture, to remember that the faithful witnesses in the bible experienced the same trials and tribulations we do today. In spite of such difficulties, the psalmist is able to pray, Your hand is upon me, protecting me from death, keeping me from harm.

Yawheh, I know you are near,
Standing always at my side;
You guard me from the foe
And you lead me in ways everlasting.

Lord, you have searched my heart
And you know when I sit and when I stand;
Your hand is upon me, protecting me from death,
Keeping me from harm.

Where can I run from your love?
If I climb to the heavens you are there.
If I fly to the sunrise or sail beyond the sea,
Still I'd find you there.

You know my heart and its ways,
You who formed me before I was born;
In the secret of darkness, before I saw the sun,
In my mother's womb.

Marvelous to me are your works,
how profound are your thoughts, my Lord.
Even if I could count them, they number as the stars,
You would still be there.

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