Daily Reflection
September 23rd, 1999
Tamora Whitney
English Department
Haggai 1:1-8
Luke 9:7-9

I was a music minister for many years, and I still find it hard to read the Mass readings without picking out songs to go with them.  I wish I was playing Mass today because I could fit all the music around the first reading.  The theme of the first reading is a common theme:  that we must all put God first in our lives.  “Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house (the house of the Lord) lies in ruins?”  It isn’t right for people to take care of their own personal needs and wants without giving first thought to the Lord.  It is right to give God thanks and praise.  God does so much every day for us, and these people in the reading couldn’t even take care of the house of the Lord.  How selfish.
But the reading makes a further point.  It is also useless.  If the Lord is not our help in everything we do, what good will our work do us?  “You have sown much, but have brought in little.”  All the work in the world is for nothing, if it is not done with the help of the Lord, and if it is not done with the Lord in mind.

“Consider your ways!  … build the house that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the Lord.”  The people should change their ways, put the Lord first in their lives, and let the Lord be their help in all they do, then they will have the rewards of the Lord.

If I were singing Mass today, for entrance I would use “If the Lord Does Not Build”  by Dan Schutte, S.J.  “If the Lord does not build a house, then in vain do the builders labor… if the Lord is not [their] help.”  If the Lord is not our partner, nothing we do can amount to anything.  If the Lord is our help, there is nothing we can’t do, and everything we do is for the glory of  God.  For offertory, “Come with me into the Fields” again by Fr. Schutte says, “The harvest is plenty; laborers are few.  Come with me into the fields.”   The people in the reading have sown much, but brought in little.  The Lord’s harvest is plentiful but He needs more workers.  We should all be harvesting for the Lord.  What better way is there to spend our lives except in the Lord’s work?  So at communion I would sing “Come to the Water” by John Foley, S.J.  “Why should you spend your life, if not for the Lord.”  For recessional I would sing “Seek the Lord” by Roc O’Connor S.J. “Today is the day and now the proper hour to forsake our sinful lives and turn to the Lord.”  Then these songs get stuck in my head and I sing them in my mind all day, thus reminding me of the theme of today’s reading.

The reading today calls us to put God first in our lives, and to see all we do as in partnership with God, then we might reap the rewards of our spiritual lives.  I’m hearing another good song, “If God is for us, who can be against?”

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