"By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
On the Aspens of that land we hung up our harps."
These beautiful, mournful words from Psalm 137 never fail to touch my heart. Today when I hear these words I am reminded of the millions of people who have been driven from their homes by violence, poverty or natural disasters; those who have been taken from their homes and sold / trafficked into slavery or forced to become soldiers; and those who are not at home in themselves due to mental or spiritual troubles. So many displaced people longing for a place where they can live peacefully and with dignity.
A psalm of such profound sadness is chosen for use at a Mass that begins with this entrance antiphon: "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast." IS 66:10-11
Such juxtaposition brings to mind the words from Ecclesiastes—”there is a time for every purpose under heaven”. As a people of faith we are called to be hopeful. Hopeful that those who mourn / we who mourn will be comforted. We are also called to awareness that anyone who crosses our path may be in exile in any number of ways, so should always be met with compassion.