May 9, 2021 – Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 98:1-4; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
Different songs are paired with different memories and periods of my life. Perhaps the same is true for you.
I hear “Singing in the Rain” and I’m immediately transported back to grade school and the day I went out to do just that at Gene Kelly’s inspiration. Turn on Rocky’s “Eye of the Tiger” and I’m in high school, feeling the nervous energy of warming up for a cross country race. The Mission soundtrack comes on, and I’m in the passenger seat holding back tears as we drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge on the way to my aunt’s funeral.
Music has a powerful ability both to express and to form our interior depths. So, I stopped in my tracks as I read the opening line of this week’s Responsorial Psalm: “Sing to the Lord a new song.” (Psalm 98:1)
That’s quite a command. It made me ponder what the current soundtrack of my life is. What is my refrain? What is my melody? How is it shaping me? Is it inspiring others? Giving glory to God? The Holy Spirit, working to leap that Psalmist’s line off the page at me, sounds pretty clear: I need a new one. Perhaps the same is true for you.
We don’t all need the same one. In fact, the different notes that each life emits are what make this world a symphony. But perhaps we all need a new one — perhaps a new song for every day.
I don’t just mean a new playlist, though perhaps we could start there with some thoughtful pruning of the kinds of music we fill our souls with on a daily basis. I mean more the interior song that we allow to take root in our heart and so form our being — the interior melody that inevitably surfaces in our conversations and interactions on a daily basis, and in the life projects we pour ourselves into on a more global basis.
Plugged in to the movements of the Holy Spirit both individually and collectively, the Church in all her members has the potential to offer the world in every age the most stunning orchestra of generative love — ever fresh, timely, imaginative and new — that could ever be conceived. If we don’t feel up to the task, all the better, since we’ll be more likely to let God compose the song he wants us to play.
Why sing at all these days? “Because he has done wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 98:1) It is he who has worked wonders in the past. Our Scriptures recount them with powerful perception. He worked them against every odd, and he has the perfect ability to work more of them today. His merciful love is ever new, and his grace is ever at work to save us.
I need to be saved. You need to be saved. This world needs to be saved. Praise God we have a savior. And voila — a new song is born.
Our readings this week provide the perfect place to start in asking God to write a new song in our hearts. Pray with them. He wants us to know he loves each and every last one of us. And he wants us to love one another. So, “break into song; sing praise.” (Psalm 98:4)