Psalm 64 Commentary. 15A

Psalm 64 is a great challenge to any world that is obsessed with industry and business. It strongly reminds  us that God is around, both as creator and redeemer.

We sing 5 of the 14 verses of the complete psalm this weekend. But it is useful to be aware of the context for these. The whole psalm has been analysed as a play in three acts: verses 1 to 4 describe acts of forgiveness; (aways a good way to start our prayer in God’s presence!). But more than that: God answers prayer (verse 1); forgives (verse 3); delivers homely blessings (verse 5); and does all this everywhere, from East to West, from mountains to the seas! (verse5).

Act two in verses  5 to 8 depicts Acts of Power, stressing the power of roaring winds and sea which God creates but curbs with mighty care. 

Act three, verses 10 to 14, depict Acts of Grace, the free gifts of God’s love in sustaining creation with rains and fruitful crops, where even the flocks of sheep cry out with joy at the goodness around them! This psalm particularly celebrates the gift of Iife-giving water in verses 9 to 11. Our busy industrial world needs to take note  … and to take care of this precious gift!

Our psalm follows the reading from Isaiah about the rain watering the earth like the sacred word flowing from the mouth of God. The psalm’s provision of crops then leads into the Parable of the Sower in the Gospel.

We could sing this psalm with joyful hope as we move forward from the eight anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si”. This year’s guiding theme, is “Hope for the Earth. Hope for humanity”. So, let’s really sing to communicate this with hope in our eyes  and joy in our voices!

Audio version of the commentary by Dr Noel Donnelly


Recording of Ps 64: words (c) The Grail, England; music (c) Gerry Fitzpatrick; recorded by Grace Buckley.