The Psalms

The Psalms, all 150 of them, make up the great prayer-book that lies at the heart of the Bible. These inspired prayers have been the daily lifeblood of both Jews and Christians from time immemorial. The Psalms are among the oldest poems, hymns and prayers in the world, and have been the daily lifeblood of both Jews and Christians from time immemorial. They are full of power and passion, horrendous misery, unrestrained jubilation, tender sensitivity and full of hope. Inspired by the Holy Spirit of God they are deeply human and seem to have a way of leading us to Jesus Christ, the most human one of all.

The Psalms touch on the central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, revenge, beauty, despair, envy, honour, weakness, striving, suffering, mercy, virtue. Regular exposure in prayer to these ancient and beautiful human emotions change the way we understand the deepest elements of who we are. The experience is like looking at life – the world, the seasons, time itself, ourselves, others and God – as through different spectacles. There’s a power in the psalms that draw humans to them.  

The psalms are extraordinary poems, hymns, prayers…. The Spirit of God breathes through them and through those who pray or sing them. Jesus listened to them in the synagogue, learned them and perhaps even sang them. We know from the Gospels that many psalm verses came trippingly off his tongue as he walked the roads of Galilee and Judea with his followers, perhaps all singing them together!

Next Sunday, 13th Sunday Year A     The Responsorial psalm is ps.88.

This was a favourite psalm of St. Teresa of Avila. This psalm speaks about forever and this is a characteristic which is in short supply to day.  People are loathe to make a commitment forever, fearful of closing the door on alternative possibilities.  They doubt that anybody can say forever!

Our psalm celebrates the happiness of those who walk in the light of God’s face and find their joy in God.

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