Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reflection on Psalm 67

Psalm 67 is being used as the invitatory for the nativity of John the Baptist. "Today the Church celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist, the last of the line of prophets sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. As the Catechism teaches us,

'The coming of God’s son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ; all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the ‘First Covenant.’ He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel.' We recognize St. John the Baptist as surpassing all the other prophets. For through St. John, the Holy Spirit completed his work of making a people ready for God’s Son. Also, St. John abundantly welcomed Christ into the world; he leaped for joy in his mother’s womb, foreshadowed Christ’s coming in his preaching, baptized and bore witness to Jesus in the Jordan, and gave his life in holy martyrdom. We celebrate St. John the Baptist’s birth as the threshold opening to the hope and joy present in Christ’s coming." [1] Although the psalm is written for the future, a prediction, I think we can certainly read it as it has happened and is happening because all promises were fulfilled in Christ.

God has had pity (mercy) on us, and is presently having pity on us, by means of the Church and the Sacraments; He is blessing us. God teaches us through St. Augustine that, when He blesses us, we grow [2]. Hence, because we have received His blessing of Baptism, we must grow. He not only has pity on us; He therefore gives us life and causes us to mature into the image of His Son. This is God letting His "face shed its light upon us." His face is His image, into which we are created when we are baptized, in order that we may do good works, as He does good works; the purpose being: "So will your ways be known upon earth and all nations learn your saving help." However, we must never forget: We cannot do anything without Him, even after Baptism. This is the Invitatory, inviting the Church to pray, even though we have already been baptized. We cannot say that we have received everything in Baptism and no longer need to pray. Because we are baptized, we must pray continuously, as our Lord Jesus did.

As a result of His mercy and blessing of His Church, He "let[s] the nations be glad and exult, for you rule the world with justice; with fairness you rule the peoples, you guide the nations on earth." No one can be "glad and exult" unless God grants it. We rejoice because God rules with justice and fairness. Justice and fairness encompass mercy and judgment. God is most merciful and pours His blessings out upon His Church; therefore, His chastisements of us is included in His blessings, e.g. His servant Job.

"Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you." Because the Father and the Son has sent us the Holy Spirit, when we submit and walk in obedience, being the image of the Son, we praise God. He blesses us and His blessings are returning to Him as fruit is what we are taught by St. Augustine [2].

"The earth has yielded its fruit for God, our God, has blessed us. May God still give us his blessing till the ends of the earth revere him."

[1] www.divineoffice.org [2] St. Augustine (2010-03-28). St. Augustine: Exposition on the Book of Psalms (Kindle Locations 13797-13801). Kindle Edition.
--Tommy Turner