- Fr. Tarcisio
BIBLE STUDY. PSALM 96 (95) Give the Lord glory and honor.
1. TYPE OF PSALM: Hymn to God, king of the universe
It is a hymn to the greatness of God and an invitation to the people of God and all the peoples of the earth to recognize him as the only God.
2. READ THE WORD.
Psalm 96 (95)
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. 12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. 13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
What does the text say?
a) Invitation to Israel to praise Yahweh in the temple (vv. 1-6);
The psalm begins with an invitation that immediately opens a universal perspective: "sing to the Lord, all the earth" (v. 1). The faithful are invited to "tell the glory" of God "to the peoples" and then "to all nations" to proclaim his wonders (v. 3).
At the center of this song we find a statement against idols, gods that are not God, who have no power to create or save as our God has done. This new song is to be sung by Israel, her chosen people, in the temple of Jerusalem.
b) Invitation to other nations to praise the Creator (vv. 7-10);
The historical experience of Israel's exile also led them to recognize that their God also rules over all nations. That other peoples are not excluded from his promises of salvation and that is why he invites them in these verses, so that they also sing and praise God.
c) Invitation to nature to rejoice before God, who rules the world with his justice (vv. 11-14).
Finally, it opens with the proclamation of the royalty of the Lord (cf. vv. 10-14). The one who sings here is the universe, even in its most mysterious and dark elements, like the sea, according to the ancient biblical conception: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth." (vv. 11-13).
The Lord is a just and merciful judge, with his People (Israel), with the families of the peoples and with the entire creation.
3. MEDITATE ON THE WORD. Does this reading say anything special to you?
The psalmist has composed this praise full of faith and emotion recognizing the wonders of God. I wonder if we, when we pray, when we participate in the Eucharist, feel that emotion and are capable of moving others to participate in praise. Let us remember that the action of God in the world is wonderful, worthy of being praised; it is full of strength and splendor, and it is capable of brightening the entire universe.
4. PRAY WITH THE WORD. What do you say to God?
Father of humanity, you who have placed your dwelling among us, and in your Son, you have wanted to bring together those whom sin had distanced; We ask you that, by your Spirit, all of us in universal chorus may acclaim you as our own: «Abba! Father!".
5. CONTEMPLATE THE WORD. How does your look change?
May we not be embarrassed to sing during the celebration of Mass, may our song be an expression of the joy and gratitude that we carry in our hearts. May our participation in liturgical meetings, community prayers, celebration of the sacraments, be filled with faith. And may our joy and good example move more people to sing and praise our God.