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 two questions, in the form of a soliloquy. God is portrayed through the powerful metaphors of light, salvation, and refuge. All three depict God as a source of unmatched power and actively using that power on behalf of the psalmist.

For the Christian, “The Lord is my light…” calls to mind 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, 

This desire to dwell in the house of the LORD may refer to literally living in the temple, but it’s more likely a prayer for intimacy with God. The psalmist longs to perceive God’s enduring presence, the way one might feel the presence of another by residing in their home.

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

Basking in the divine presence would inspire a contemplative attitude, leading 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 psalmist is confident that he will experience God’s abundant provisions, favor, and blessings now, in everyday life.

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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