Praise the One Who Lifts Up the Poor

As has been said before, the first reading and Gospel are connected – this weekend the connection is justice. And, the psalm continues to develop the focus of the first reading. Amos, one of the minor prophets, lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE, when the kingdom was very rich. Amos rails against hypocrisy and those who defraud the poor and needy. Psalm 113 is the first of the “Hallel” psalms, psalms of praise and thanksgiving, sung at Jewish holidays. The psalm calls us to identify with the poor. In scripture we are reminded that the God of Abraham gives special status to the poor, and Jesus places them above everyone else in his ministry. As we reflect on the psalm, call to mind someone we may have met who is poor – in finances? relationships? dignity? faith? How have we lifted them up?

We your servants, praise you! Praise your holy name!

Blessed be God’s name now and always.

God towers above nations; God’s glory shines over the heavens.

Who compares to our God?
Who is enthroned so high?

God bends down to see heaven and earth.

God raises the weak from the dust
and lifts the poor from the mire,
to seat them with princes
in the company of their leaders.

[verses adapted from The Psalter © 1995,
Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications.]