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Our eyes are on the Lord our God

Our eyes are on the Lord our God

Tomorrow, and on the first Friday of every month, we have the opportunity of spending time in prayer with our eyes fixed on Christ our Eucharist.  We have Eucharistic Adoration in our church from after the 9.30 Mass until noon.  If you can possibly get there, please do go.

With Christ our Eucharist in mind, let’s reflect upon this Sunday’s psalm, 122 (123):

To you have I lifted up my eyes,
You who dwell in the heavens;
My eyes, like the eyes of slaves
On the hand of their lords.
Like the eyes of a servant
on the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes are on the Lord our God
Till he show us his mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
We are filled with contempt.
Indeed all too full is our soul
With the scorn of the rich,
With the proud man’s disdain.

That first verse reminds me of the stoning of Stephen.  When he was arrested, ‘the members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.’  Stephen then gave an uncompromising speech which infuriated them so much that they ‘ground their teeth at him’.

‘But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God”’ (Acts 7:55-57).

 The contrast could not be greater between the angelic countenance of Stephen, who looks up to heaven and sees God and the ‘unseeing’ members of the Sanhedrin, whose scorn and pride wields such a destructive force that they set about stoning Stephen to death.

It was because Stephen kept his eyes firmly on the Lord that he was able to remain steadfast unto death.  The psalm speaks of ‘the eyes of slaves on the hand of their lords.’  These eyes are not merely turned to the lord in the morning and evening to touch base with him, but they are constantly on the lord, so that any indication of his will might be detected and acted upon immediately.  Our eyes need to be fixed like that on the Lord our God.

And where are the Lord’s eyes?  We heard it at Morning Prayer today and St Stephen quoted it to his accusers too:

With heaven my throne
And earth my footstool,
What house could you build for me,
What place could you make for my rest?
Was not all this made by my hand?

[Admittedly this is as far as Stephen quotes, but the members of the Sanhedrin would have known what comes next:]

But my eyes are drawn to the man
Of humbled and contrite spirit,
Who trembles at my word.                     (Is 66:1-2)

If we are to do God’s will faithfully and with steadfast endurance, we need to have our eyes fixed on him constantly.  When we find that we cannot bear to look, we must look to him for mercy, repent, and then look again to him in loving attentiveness.  Thus ‘our eyes are on the Lord our God till he show us his mercy.’

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