Psalm for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13-14

The responsorial psalm for this week is from Psalm 27. Tradition has handed down its two sections (v 1–6, v 7–14) as one psalm, though each part could be understood as complete in itself.

Asserting boundless hope that God will bring rescue (v 1–3), the psalmist longs for the presence of God in the temple and protection from all enemies (v 4–6). In the second section, there is a clear shift in tone (v 7–12); the climax of the poem comes with “I believe” (v 13).

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

The psalm begins with the assertion, in the form of a soliloquy, emphasized in two questions, that the Lord is the psalmist’s salvation and refuge.

The words, “The Lord is my light…” can be read by Christians in connection with Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 

While this desire to dwell in the house of the LORD could refer to an actual residence in the temple precincts, it’s more likely a prayer for intimacy with God. The psalmist is praying for an enduring realization of divine presence, such as one would expect when living within the house of God itself.

that I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple.

Such a realization of divine presence would flower into a contemplative attitude that would enable the psalmist to continually delight in the glory of God.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.

The risen Christ gives full meaning to the phrase “the land of the living,” for it is in heaven that the true sanctuary of God is to be found, and heaven is where we can forever see the face of the Lord.

Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

The psalmist exhorts others to keep up their spirits in the midst of dangers and difficulties. Those that wait upon the Lord (qāwâ) have reason to be of good courage.

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