Commentary on Ps 95
Commentary by Dr Noel Donnelly
Psalm 95 Commentary :
It’s a good thing that copyright laws were not around when Psalm 95 was composed! Every line of it can be found in the other psalms! Fifteen times in its 13 verses! In a way it is like the Magnificat. If you look that one up in the Jerusalem Bible you will see all the cross-references in the margins, showing how Mary’s song has been presented as a chain of appropriate texts from the Old Testament. It’s like a bouquet of flowers gathered from the biblical garden to praise God. In any case, Psalm 95, like the Magnificat, is one continuous call to praise. It’s a great one for us as we set out into the second Sunday of the year C of Ordinary Time or better. Ordered Time since there’s nothing ordinary about this year’s ongoing journey of discovery in the scriptures!
The psalm has three sections. It calls the congregation three times to sing out in praise. That’s just the first 2 verses. Did the singer find he or she was addressing a congregation that was a bit reluctant to sing? “Sing! Sing up please!! Come on: Let’s hear everyone singing!!”
Then, in verses 7 – 9 the psalmist invites all the peoples of the world to join in the singing. It ends by calling all of creation to join in the song: even the trees are invited to “clap their hands” and the oceans are to “thunder their praise”. That joyful and noisy chorus of praise makes a link with the Isaiah reading that has just been read where Isaiah tells us that God’s relationship with the Chosen People is like a wedding of bridegroom and bride. The joyful praise in our psalm reaches forward from the wedding in Isaiah to the Gospel’s Wedding Feast at Cana.
Why sing so joyfully? Because the Bridegroom Lord is coming! There is a deliberate repetition in the psalm’s verse 13: “The Lord is coming indeed!”
This will be a forgiving and saving judgment and so a cause for celebration!
Today we can sing praises because God has come already through the scriptures and through the incarnate Babe of Bethlehem, and today in Word and sacrament and community at this Mass, and will come again in forgiving and saving judgement. So, “Sing! Sing up please!! Come on: Let’s hear everyone singing!!”
Ps 95: words (c) The Grail, England. Music Francis Duffy (c) Kevin Mayhew. Recorded by Grace Buckley.