Psalm 66 for The Feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1st with
Commentary written and recorded by Dr Noel Donnelly.
Psalm 66: words (c) The Grail, England.

Music Gerry Fitzpatrick (c) Kevin Mayhew.
Recorded by Catriona Glen and The St Mungo Singers
King David graphic (c) Netta Ewing

Ps 66 w Commentary Jan 1st – Small

Psalm 66 is short, cheery and profound.
It starts with a prayer for God’s continuing blessing. Firstly the singer asks this
blessing for the people making the plea, but then the prayer extends to one
that recognises God’s face shining on “all the earth”. This is a psalm that
reaches out beyond Israel’s boundaries, especially beyond any narrow mindset
that has an exclusive understanding of God’s favour, seeing this love as
narrowly focussed on Israel. We might call Psalm 66 an ecumenical psalm. It
calls for a joining together of “all nations” in prayer to God who has provided a
good harvest.

But verse 3 tells us that God’s rule is one that seeks fairness, and so this is a
guide for our fair approach to food for all the earth.
In this psalm we are constantly reminded … at least twelve times … that God’s
face shines beyond my particular religious group or denomination.

There’s also an interesting structure to this psalm for those of us who are
accustomed to antiphonal singing. The psalm has a sung response or chorus
after verses 3 and 5: “Let ALL the nations praise you, O Lord; let ALL the
peoples praise you!” In this case the praise is for a good harvest. It makes me
think: is this praise something I might easily forget in my trips to the busy
supermarkets? I could do well to remember there’s more to the food
harvesting than science and economics behind everything here. Behind
everything there’s the face of the Lord calling for a fair and just sharing.

On the solemn feast of Mary, Mother of God, our psalm which asks for a
blessing, follows the beautiful blessing in the first reading and prepares us for
the Gospel scene of the Shepherds glorifying and praising God for all they had
heard and seen.

If John Lennon had written his song “Imagine” today, I guess he may have
had a line “Imagine there’s no foodbanks! I hope some day you’ll join us.” After
singing psalm 66 in this Christmas season, we can do more than just imagine.