Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lift Up Your Heads, O Gates!

It was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.”[1]

“Obed-edom” is defined as “Serving Edom; servant of Edom; a laborer of the earth.”[2] Now, God had blessed him because of the ark, which we see as the Virgin Mary, which in turn points us to the Incarnation of the Son of God. Of course, we cannot separate the Incarnation and our Lord’s Passion, for it is for this that He became incarnate. The laborers of the earth are those that have the Virgin Mary as their Mother, those who are born again in Christ through Baptism. Since the Mother is the image of her Son, her children are also the image of her Son. Because of this blessing, because they are born again of God, they are His “train,” which we see in Psalm 24:7.


We read in Haydock’s commentary that Psalm 24 is a processional hymn, in which one group of singers calls upon the gates of the old city of the Jebusites to lift up their heads in honor, because the King of Glory is to pass through them to his new sanctuary. We read in A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture that the Church has constantly understood this passage of Christ’s ascension, and that the saints in his train address the angels, who appear to be filled with astonishment. Because, in the Mass, heaven and earth come together, we see that we are made holy as our Lord is holy and that we ascend with Him. The commentary tells us that the psalmist is contemplating the ascension of Christ, inviting the angels to receive Him. “The angels express their admiration of the glory with which Christ, in our human nature, was environed; and the prophet replies, that he had overcome all his opponents, and again orders the gates to open. The angels were not ignorant, but gave occasion to a further display of the conqueror’s dignity, and expressed their surprise that men should enter heaven.”[3] How well we can sing with the psalmist, “Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and might, the LORD, mighty in battle!” This, of course, is due to our Lord’s Passion, death, and resurrection.

Not only do we shout in exultation, but our Lord praises the Father because of us:
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.[4] Looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” [5]

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory![6]

Lord, make us the image of You, through Your Word and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Amen.

--Tommy Turner

[1] Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1994), 2 Sa 6:12.
[2] Stelman Smith and Judson Cornwall, The exhaustive dictionary of Bible names, 1998, 187.
[3] George Leo Haydock, Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary, (New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother, 1859), Ps 23:7–10.
[4] Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1994), Mt 11:25
[5] Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1994), Mk 3:34–35.
[6] Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, (New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1994), Ps 24:7–10.