Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 105, 1-4.6-9

1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
  make known his deeds among the peoples.

2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
  tell of all his wonderful works.

3 Glory in his holy name;
  let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
  seek his presence continually.

6 O offspring of his servant Abraham,
  children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

7 He is the Lord our God;
  his judgements are in all the earth.

8 He is mindful of his covenant for ever,
  of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

9 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
  his sworn promise to Isaac.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the liturgy has us sing the first verses of Psalm 105. This is the first psalm in the Psalter where we hear the word Hallelujah, “praise the Lord!” This word of praise is the interpretive key for this psalm, which, from its first verses, is filled with praise for the Lord. In the very first verses of the psalm, the psalmist uses ten imperatives to convince the people of Israel to praise the Lord: “Give thanks, call on his name, make known his deeds, sing to him, sing praises to him, tell, glory in his holy name, seek, remember” (v. 1-7). The body of the psalm is a meditation on Israel’s “creed”, a “creed” that is composed not of abstract statements but of the historical deeds of liberation worked by God for his people. It is a history that must be “remembered” by Israel. And remember means to think about, meditate on, and above all relive the covenant narrated by the psalm. Forgetting it means erasing it from one’s personal and collective history. The Lord, the psalmist sings, “is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute” (v. 8-10). And at the end he repeats, “God remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant” (v. 42). We easily forget the love the Lord has for us and the many things he has done for us. We are often so concentrated on ourselves and our affairs that we forget the Lord and his love. If we open the Scriptures again, as the psalm invites us to do, we will remember and relive the strength of God’s love that liberates us: “Seek (drsh) the Lord and his strength, seek (bqsh) his presence continually” (v. 4). The psalmist uses two verbs to indicate seeking. The first verb, drsh, means the effort of finding something that is sought after, but it also means asking and demanding. When the object of our seeking is God these two meanings overlap. The encounter with the Lord is never just the fruit of human seeking; it is above all a gift that we have to ask for incessantly. The second verb, bqsh suggests a seeking that is attentive, intense, and even worried. Once again it is God who seeks men and women with concern. Blessed are we if we accept even a drop of this concern into our search for God! Mary Magdalene had it Easter morning in front of the empty tomb, when she was weeping for she had lost her Lord. The Lord already suggested this kind of seeking through the words of the prophet Amos: “Seek me and live; but do not seek the Lord, seek good and not evil” (5:4-6, 14). Yes, the search for God is the substance of the believer’s life: a search that is neither abstract nor theoretical, but made of concrete listening, constant prayer, faithful and generous love, and involvement in God’s loving plan for the world.