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(Part 24)


March 19, 2011
Today’s reading: Psalm 89:2-29

What we are called to do is a consequence of God’s call and plan. And what we are able to do is a consequence of who God is. Who is our God? “Who in the skies ranks with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the gods? A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all who sit there! Lord, God of hosts, who is like you?” (Ps 89:7-8).

The psalmist marveled at the awesomeness and majesty of God. One manifestation of God’s awesomeness is His power and strength. “Mighty your arm, strong your hand” (Ps 89:14a). God created the awesome universe, rules the raging sea (think tsunami), and crushes all His foes (Ps 89:12,10-11).

Now this awesome and strong God is loyal to His promises (Ps 89:2-3). For example, God made a covenant with David and promised that his dynasty will stand forever (Ps 89:4-5). This is fulfilled in David’s descendant Jesus.

What elements are present in the fulfillment of God’s promises? In this psalm, we see these elements: divine election, a covenant, servanthood and anointing. They are all part and parcel of the one call. “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant. I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.” (Ps 89:4,21). God chooses whom He wills, enters into covenant with them, uses them as His servants to fulfill His purposes, and anoints them for the work. The choice and covenant are important, as God intends to use them to do His very own work. He entrusts His work to His anointed servants. He makes Himself reliant upon them for the fulfillment of His plan.

Such is our relationship with God in CFC-FFL. God called and chose us. And when the community veered away and became unfaithful, God pursued the call by choosing us to be the remnant that was restored to our true charism. This is because God has destined us from all eternity to be His people and to do His work. “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” (Is 49:1b). From the start, God had given us our covenant. This represents a profound relationship of commitment--ours to God, but also God’s to us. God has done all these in order to use us as His instruments, through whom He intends to manifest His awesomeness. “You are my servant .... through whom I show my glory.” (Is 49:3).

God will fulfill His purposes, because He is loyal, because He is faithful. What God accomplishes through us is simply “because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.” (Is 49:7d).

But then again, we need to respond. We ourselves need to be faithful to our covenant. We need to faithfully do the work that God gives us to do. We need to give of ourselves without holding back, because that is the only posture that is fitting in response to God’s love and call.

How do we respond to God’s call? There is the internal and the external aspects of our response. This has to do with who we are to become, and what we are to do.

  • We must “walk in the radiance of (God’s) face.” (Ps 89:16b). This is the call to holiness. This is the call to be God’s light in the world, reflecting His radiance. This is the call to be witnesses empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • We must “know .... (the) Lord” (Ps 89:16a). We must know the God whom we follow, and know His ways. We must know what His plan is for us, so that we can wholeheartedly apply ourselves to fulfilling His plan. This entails knowing and living out our vision and mission, the call to be evangelizers and missionaries, the ways by which God forms us including redemptive suffering.

When we strive to become holy as God is holy, and when we faithfully carry out the tasks given to us by God as His servants, then we can expect the strength of God that brings His victory into our life and work. “You are their majestic strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. In your name they sing joyfully all the day; at your victory they raise the festal shout.” (Ps 89:18,17). We shall be able to cry out: “my God, the Rock that brings me victory!” (Ps 89:27).

If we respond in the right way, then we can expect that we will truly be those chosen by God to be His covenanted people, and those anointed by God as His servants. As such, we have God’s assurance: “My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong.” (Ps 89:22).

When this happens, then God’s plan for the life of the world will come to pass. “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6:b). And, as God’s instruments, our destiny, to accomplish the plan of God and to reflect His very glory, will also come to pass. “And I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord” (Is 49:5c). God Himself will affirm this: “through my name his horn will be exalted.” (Ps 89:25b).

We can then truly cry out: “my God is now my strength!”

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