Our Eyes Are Fixed on the Holy One, Pleading for Mercy

As mortal beings, most of us in our lifetime are confronted and challenged with individual and societal distress: illnesses, deaths, pandemics, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, strife, even wars. Sometimes we are forewarned; sometimes we heed; sometimes we ignore. Psalm 123 is a pilgrimage psalm and composed for a time of distress. In the 1st reading and the gospel, Ezekiel and Jesus are confronted with resistant listeners. To be a prophet in the footsteps of Ezekiel and following the way of Christ, we must first listen before we speak. And, with eyes fixed on the Holy One, we see God’s fidelity, beauty, and truth. The opening lines of the psalm situate us emotionally and physically in relationship to the God to whom we have turned in the past, the God whom we wish to serve. The imagery used in Psalm 123 is that of a household and the psalm contains a feminine image of God. Female images are sprinkled throughout Scripture, which challenges us to our image of God. Is it only male/father? In what box have we put our God?

To you, my God, I lift up my eyes,
you who are enthroned in the heavens!

Behold like the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
Like the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to you, O God, till you have mercy upon us.

Have mercy on us, O God,
have mercy, for we are filled with contempt.
Too long has our soul been sated with the scorn of the arrogant,
the contempt of the proud.

[verses adapted from People’s Companion to the Breviary © 1997 by the Carmelites of Indianapolis]