Ps 145 Advent 3A with Commentary
Commentary by Dr Noel Donnelly. Psalm words and music (c) Noel Donnelly.Recorded by Grace Buckley
Psalm 145 Commentary 23B
It is generally agreed that the Temple musicians divided the 150 Psalms into five hymn books. Our Psalm 145 starts off Hymn Book Five. That book has five psalms to conclude the whole collection of 150 psalms. Those final psalms present a great surge of praise, each one beginning and ending with “Praise the Lord!” or “Alleluia!” The “yah”-part of that word is of course the abbreviation for the sacred name Yahweh.
Psalm 145 is a joyfully positive song and it is used his weekend for what is known as Gaudete Sunday, since the official liturgical celebration begins with the Latin word Gaudete, meaning rejoice. Why rejoice? Because we are halfway through our journey towards Christmas! In many ways Psalm 145 celebrates the generous compassion of God. The psalmist stresses that God is not remote; nine verbs are given in the full psalm to show God’s practical activity, and eight of them appear in the selection for this Sunday’s liturgy: God keeps being faithful to us, brings justice to the oppressed, sets prisoners free, gives bread to the hungry and sight to the blind, raises those who are bent down, protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan.
Our psalm is, as usual, a bridge between the first joy-filled reading where Isaiah promises that God is coming to heal the blind and deaf and dumb and lame; and our psalm also reaches forward to the encouraging Gospel reading where Jesus speaks about the blind now seeing and the lame walking but significantly more: the dead are raised and the poor have the Good News preached to them.
Can we, can I, in some way, carry forwards that Good News as we encounter the hungry, the blind, and the widows, the orphans and immigrants mentioned in our psalm today? And do that in a joyful way in the spirit of Gaudete Sunday?