The Spirit of Bethlehem

Today’s Psalm spells out 10 things that make the Lord great:

1. The LORD keeps faith forever,
2. The LORD secures justice for the oppressed,
3. The LORD gives food to the hungry.
4. The LORD sets captives free.
5. The LORD gives sight to the blind.
6. The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
7. The LORD loves the just.
8. The LORD protects strangers.
9. The LORD protects the fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
10. The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.

The Pharisees, thinking themselves the premier teachers of Israel, ask Jesus:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

If you want to be great, start with seeing through the lenses of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem is God’s geographical metaphor for smallness/humility.  Instead of arguing among ourselves, “who is the greatest” (cf Mark 9:34),  choose the Bethlehem way of life.   When you do that,  “The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon those who live in Bethlehem, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.…”

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