Today we turn again to the devotional series by The Catholic Telegraph, one of the oldest Catholic publications in the world:
Related Readings: Wisdom of Solomon 2:1A, 12-22; Psalm 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 (Catholic Lectionary schedule)
Invitation to Prayer: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted..
Reflection: After reading today’s responsorial psalm  I am reminded of all the reasons I have prayed with this verse in the past: breakups, illness, job loss, betrayal, unexpected disappointment, times of crises, the list goes on. It has always been helpful to me because, unlike more positive verses, it doesn’t try to explain my hurt away or convince me to feel otherwise. This psalm acknowledges that sadness and despair are valid feelings that need to be, well, felt. What is comforting, however, is the knowledge that God does not shy away from our sadness, and neither does He condemn us for it. Instead, He draws near. Very, very near. So near that one can imagine Him with us in whatever position our pain takes, comforting us in whatever way will bring us the most peace. A hug, a hand on our shoulder, stroking our head, or just sitting or standing next to us, a presence loving and strong.
These days, broken hearts seem to be more likely than not. With so many people dying, ill, afraid and anxious, our lives seem scary and unpredictable. For many of us younger people, this is our first real brush with the sobering reality of serious disease, economic instability, and international crisis. For others it may seem all too familiar, a reminder of something that should have stayed in the past. This will also be the second Sunday of the month during which no public Mass is offered, and that alone has resulted in many broken hearts and despair among the faithful.
How fitting, however, that this psalm is followed immediately by the verse, “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” We as a society have grown accustomed to attending mass every week. We take that simple act for granted, forgetting that for thousands of people in the world (and throughout history) it has never been that easy. Jesus is the Bread of Life, but for persons living in remote areas, where priests are scarce, where Christianity is a punishable offense or where masses are forbidden, the Bread of Life is not so readily available. What is available though, ever-present, comforting and true is the word of God. It is living, and when read with intention the Holy Spirit is present, and it can be just as life-giving as the Eucharist if we let it. Reflecting on that truth this week brought me some peace, and I will continue to spend time thinking about how the word of God in the scriptures can speak life into my tired body and soul, both through personal prayer and through a mass offered on screen.
Prayer: Lord, help me on my journey to share joy, and lift me during my anxieties.
Closing: Shine Christ’s love and be there for others.