Sunday, April 1, 2012

Psalm 21 and the Pascal mystery

It has been a consistent observation in the tradition of the Church that the Psalms portray Christ. This short article will help to make this more obvious by interpreting Psalm 21 in light of the resurrection of Christ.

"O Lord, your strength gives joy to the king; how your saving help makes him glad!"

    If one replaces 'the Lord' and 'Most High' with the Father and 'the king' with 'Jesus,' one reads a beautiful Psalm about Christ's filial devotion to the Father. The king, Jesus, enjoys the Father's strength. He knows how good His Father is and that His Father will save Him in His time of need. Importantly, He loves to rely on this saving help; it makes Him glad when He is saved! He is willingly dependant on the Father.

"You have granted him his heart's desire; you have not refused the prayer of his lips."

    Jesus beseeches the Father in prayer, confident that the Father will answer His heart's desire. Indeed the Father sees the purity of Christ's heart and will not refuse His Son. Christ's love for the Father makes Jesus irresistible to the Lord. God cannot help but love the infinite goodness in Christ. The Father is like a husband who answers every desire of His beloved.

"You came to meet him with the blessings of success, you have set on his head a crown of pure gold."

    Upon the resurrection all power and dominion was given over to the Son. After the victory of the Cross, the Father perfected Christ's humanity as the blessings due to His success. How pleased the Father must have been! After watching His Son die on the Cross, He couldn't wait to meet Him so that the Father 'came to meet him.'

"He asked you for life and this you have given, days that will last from age to age."

Christ was dead, but He asked the Father for eternal life. No longer can Christ die for He has been given a glorified body. In the depths of His despair He turned to the Father; He gave everything to the Father, trusting in Him. "Into your hands, Father, I commend my Spirit." He clung to the Father in love, and then asked for life when He descended into Hell. On the third day, He rose and was glorified.

As we journey through Lent, we are called to a deeper imitation of Christ by forsaking the goods of this world and placing our hope in the Father. Know the Father's love for you! In the Father, truly, can hope. Psalm 20 says "Some trust in chariots or horses, but we in the name of the Lord. They will collapse and fall, but we shall hold and stand firm." Only by trusting in the Lord will we make it through this life alive. It is from the Father that we derive our being. If we seek life, we should follow Christ and ask the Father who will not refuse those with a pure heart.

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