The readings for this coming Sunday are of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which has precedence over the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Woman-kind is to the fore in this Sunday’s celebratoin – and it is not often enough that that happens.
The particular focus is Mary’s Assumption, and so our readings respond to that mystery. We have the woman of Apocalypse 11, and in our psalm too we have royal women who distinguish themselves by their love for the Lord.
But the psalm does not only speak of their love for him. It also testifies to his desire and love for them.
The psalm reminds of his delight in us too and of the intimacy with him that it is our privilege to enjoy.
(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 45 (44)
1 For the Choirmaster. Intoned like “The Lilies.”
Of the sons of Korah. A Maskil. A Love Song.
2 My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I address the song I have made,
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
3 You are the most handsome of the sons of men,
and graciousness is poured out upon your lips,
for God has blessed you forevermore.
4 Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one,
with your splendor and your majesty.
5 In your majesty ride on triumphant
in the cause of truth, meekness, and justice.
May your right hand show your wondrous deeds.
6 Your arrows are sharp—peoples fall beneath you—
in the heart of the foes of the king.
7 Your throne, O God, shall endure forever.
A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom.
8 Your love is for justice; your hatred for evil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above other kings:
9 your robes are fragrant with aloes, myrrh, and cassia.
From the ivory palace you are gladdened with music.
10 The daughters of kings are those whom you favor.
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
11 Listen, O daughter; pay heed and give ear:
forget your own people and your father’s house.
12 So will the king desire your beauty.
He is your lord, pay homage to him.
13 And the daughter of Tyre shall come with gifts;
the richest of the people shall seek your favor.
14 The daughter of the king is clothed with splendor;
her robes are threaded with gold.
15 In fine clothing she is led to the king;
behind her are her maiden companions, brought to you.
16 They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
they pass within the palace of the king.
17 Sons will be yours to succeed your fathers;
you will make them rulers over all the earth.
18 I will make your name forever remembered.
Thus the peoples will praise you from age to age.
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: (c) 2004, Allen Morris. Mosaic, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna