Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 72, 1-2.7-8.12-13.17

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
  and your righteousness to a king’s son.

2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
  and your poor with justice.

7 In his days may righteousness flourish
  and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
  and from the River to the ends of the earth.

12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
  the poor and those who have no helper.

13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
  and saves the lives of the needy.

17 May his name endure for ever,
  his fame continue as long as the sun.
  May all nations be blessed in him;
  may they pronounce him happy.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 72 is the last of David’s prayers and relates the vision of Israel’s dream. Israel is a small nation, often troubled by its neighbours and even more often badly governed by its own kings. The psalmist hopes for a king who will finally rule with righteousness and justice, and for the Lord justice is not the cold redistribution of possessions, but the special attention given to the poor so that they can live with the same dignity as everyone else. Throughout the whole of Scripture, justice is always tied to love and mercy. Without this bond it is difficult to understand the deep meaning of the biblical message about the dignity of every man and woman. The psalmist’s prayer rises to God and asks that the king not only govern in God’s name - almost every king has claimed to do that - but according to God’s plan. From the beginning the psalmist prays, “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.”(v.1-2) He is undoubtedly praying for the king to have an eternal, universal, and victorious reign: “May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations… May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute” (v. 5-10). But wisdom in ruling is not passed down in a dynasty or acquired like a privilege. Only God can grant it. The psalmist has before his eyes the image of Solomon, who asked God to give him wisdom in ruling the moment he was elected king. This is why the psalm prays for the king, but also - and more importantly - asks God for a king according to His plan. Its words prefigure the coming of the Messiah-king, the person sent by God to establish a kingdom of peace and justice. In them can already be seen the words of Isaiah, “Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. The wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest” (32:16-17, 15).