A New Song
(3rd Ordinary Sunday: Jonah 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Matthew 1:14-20)
We begin this reflection with today’s Entrance Antiphon: “O sing a new song to the Lord; Sing to the Lord, all the earth” (Ps. 96:1). It provides an insight into the readings and into La Salette.
In all the readings, there is momentous change. Nineveh responded to Jonah’s preaching. Jesus proclaims: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Four fishermen have abandoned their nets to follow him. St. Paul tells us, “The world in its present form is passing away.”
The La Salette Apparition was life-changing as well, not only for Mélanie and Maximin, but for many thousands of others, down to our own day and age.
The invitation to sing a new song applies not to the change itself, as if it were just a matter of novelty. It comes always in a context of joy and celebration. Something wonderful has happened—such as conversion or reconciliation—with intense new feelings seeking new expression.
There are many songs in many languages in honor of Our Lady of La Salette. But there is one that is intimately associated with the Shrine on the Holy Mountain in France. It makes no mention of the Apparition or the message. Rather, it is a poetic translation of the Angelus, set to music, and it is sung at the end of the candlelight procession every evening.
It is known as the La Salette Angelus, and regular pilgrims know it by heart. It is, in a way, their new song, renewing their love for the Beautiful Lady every time they sing it. Such a new song helps to drive out old negative habits and thoughts that often try to creep back into our lives.
Today’s Psalm contains an awesome prayer: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.” We need to have our feet planted on the firm ground of God’s guiding truth, which is never old.
The new song goes both ways. Consider this wonderful text from Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.”
Our new song is God’s, and his is ours!
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.