Psalm 45: 10, 11, 12, 16
The responsorial psalm for today’s feast comes from Psalm 45, a royal wedding psalm. All attention is given to the queen, each verse treating a different aspect of her person.
The connection with today’s feast is clear: Mary is queen-mother of heaven and earth.
The queen takes her place at your right hand in gold of Ophir.
Immediately we are directed to three characteristics of the queen’s royal dignity:
- She is identified as queen, an indication that she and the king are already married.
- She stands at the king’s right hand, a place of high honor.
- She is arrayed in gold.
Ophir’s reputation as a source of gold is referred to several times in the Bible, but its exact location is not known.
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
The psalmist turns directly to the woman, giving her advice or direction as a Wisdom teacher might.
forget your people and your father’s house.
The psalmist encourages her to conform to the patriarchal custom of the woman leaving the household of her father to become part of the household of her husband.
So shall the king desire your beauty; for he is your lord.
The king is characterized as the lord (’ādôn) of the woman, probably in reference to his royal role and not his role as husband. If the latter were intended, the word used for “lord” would probably be ba’al, which is also translated “husband.”
The desire for her beauty carries a sexual connotation. Since it is the king who desires her, this would have been considered the highest honor to which a woman might aspire.
They are borne in with gladness and joy; they enter the palace of the king.
The final verse alludes to the wedding procession that was part of most marriages. Usually the bride and her attendants walked in procession to the home of the groom — here, the high station of this wedding couple is seen in the fact that the wedding entourage is carried into the palace, probably on exquisitely decorated litters. Once the bride arrived, the feasting would commence, and from this point on the bride would reside in the home of her husband.