Preparing for Mass on Sunday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time

Psalm 118 (119) is long! There are 22 stanzas, each of 8 verses.

This psalm is also one of the Bible’s Acrostic psalms. Each stanza takes the ‘title’ of a letter of the (Hebrew) alphabet, successively – aleph, beth, etc – and each verse of that stanza begins with its given letter.

The acrostic device is ornamental and is not preserved in the translation given here or that sung from the Lectionary on Sunday. It was preserved in the Ronald Knox translation which can be accessed here.

The psalm is much longer than the sections quoted below but this selection give a good indication of the tone of the psalm as a whole – sober, moralistic, mindful of how a good life is consequent on living pliant to God’s law.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118(119):1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Psalm 119 (118):1–8

1          Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
            who walk in the law of the Lord!
2           Blessed are those who keep his decrees!
            With all their hearts they seek him.

3           They never do anything evil,
            but walk in his ways.

4          You have laid down your precepts
            to be carefully kept.

5           May my ways be firm
            in keeping your statutes.

6           Then I shall not be put to shame
            as I observe all your commands.

7           I will thank you with an upright heart,
            as I learn your just judgments.
8           I will keep your statutes;
            do not ever forsake me.

Psalm 119 (118):9–16

9           How shall a youth remain pure on his way?
            By obeying your word.
10          I have sought you with all my heart;
            let me not stray from your commands.

11          I treasure your word in my heart,
            lest I sin against you.
12          Blest are you, O Lord;
            teach me your statutes.

13          With my lips have I recounted
            all the decrees of your mouth.
14          I rejoice in the way of your precepts,
            as though all riches were mine.

15          I will ponder your precepts,
            and consider your paths.
16          I take delight in your statutes;
            I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119 (118):17–24

17          Deal bountifully with your servant,
            that I may live and keep your word.
18          Open my eyes, that I may see
            the wonders of your law.

19          I am a pilgrim in the land;
            hide not your commands from me.
20          My soul is consumed with longing
            at all times for your decrees.

21          You threaten the proud, the accursed,
            who stray from your commands.
22          Free me from scorn and contempt,
            for I observe your decrees.

23          Though princes sit plotting against me,
            your servant ponders your statutes.
24          See, your decrees are my delight;
            your statutes are my counsellors.

Psalm 119 (118):25–32

25          My soul holds fast to the dust;
            revive me by your word.
26          I declared my ways and you answered me;
            teach me your statutes.

27          Make me grasp the way of your precepts,
            and I will ponder your wonders.
28          My soul pines away with grief;
            by your word raise me up.

29          Keep me from the way of falsehood;
            grant me mercy by your law.
30          I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
            your decrees I have upheld.

31          I cling to your decrees, O Lord;
            let me not be put to shame.
32          I will run the way of your commands;
            you open wide my heart.

Psalm 119 (118):33–40

33          Lord, teach me the way of your statutes,
            and I will keep them to the end.
34          Grant me insight that I may keep your law,
            and observe it wholeheartedly.

35          Guide me in the path of your commands,
            for in them is my delight.
36          Bend my heart to your decrees,
            and not to wrongful gain.

37          Turn my eyes from gazing on vanities;
            in your way, give me life.
38          Fulfil your promise to your servant,
            that you may be revered.

39          Turn away the taunts I dread,
            for your decrees are good.
40          See, I long for your precepts;
            give me life by your justice.

Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2010, Allen Morris. David, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Cork, Ireland.

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