Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 314

Have mercy on me, O God, for men trample upon me; all the day they press their attack against me. My adversaries trample upon me all the day; yes, many fight against me.


Our responsorial psalm today invites us to pray, "In God I trust, I shall not fear."
When Christians reads the psalms, we speak with the one voice of four persons.
First, is the Lord Jesus. As the Word made Flesh, he is the Principal of all the psalms. He is the "I" of each prayer. The Evangelists did not hesitate to put on the lips of the Crucified the words of the 22nd psalm, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" or to assign the interpretation of Psalm 110 to him, "You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek." The Book of Psalms celebrates his lamentations, sorrows, faith and victory.
Secondly, the psalmist is David. We know that the shepherd/warrier David was a singer. He probably wrote some of the psalms. Traditionally we assign all of the psalms to him, just as Moses is credited with writing the Pentateuch, even the parts that describe his burial. The Christian can readily recognize David as the psalmist and the Son of David as the fulfillment of these words. Praying the psalms we identify with David's "lamentations, sorrows, faith and victory."
Thirdly, the psalmist is the Church, or the faithful child of God. A thousand years of hope, disappointment, sorrow, joy and exultation went into the writing, editing, selecting and collecting of these prayers. The psalter is the "prayer book of the Church," inherited directly from our Jewish ancestors. Jesus learned these prayers in the home of Mary and Joseph and sang them in the synagogues of Egypt, Nazareth and Capernaum. When Peter and John went up to the Temple in Jerusalem for the three o’clock hour of prayer they joined in the singing of psalms. During the two millennia since, composers and poets have arranged music and translations to enrich our prayer. The Holy Spirit keeps them as fresh in our hearts today as the day they were written.
Finally, the psalmist is you and me. We pray these prayers daily in our Masses and the Liturgy of the Hours. We should not come to these ancient prayers expecting them to express my particular ideas, worries or concerns. This prayer is not about me! But we will be often surprised by their relevance because the Spirit is the Same. If there is something alien to me in my reading of the psalms, it is my own alienation. 
When we pray the psalms we join our minds, hearts and voices to that of the whole church -- the Church of the past, present and future; the pilgrim Church on earth and the Church triumphant in heaven; the Church sinful, repentant and redeemed; the Church which remains as pure as the Immaculate Heart of Mary and as intense as the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The psalms are vehicles which carry us into God's presence, into that Inner Sanctuary of God's Throne described by Hebrews 8:1
The main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.