Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"He gives bread to the Hungry" - two senses of Psalm 145


This morning at lauds we prayed these words from Psalm 145:

It is he who gives bread to the hungry, *
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind, *
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger *
and upholds the widow and orphan.

Blessed John Paul II's meditation on psalm 145, given as a general audience in 2003, reminds us of both the moral sense and the christological meanings of the above words. First, we are meant to be participate in God's mercy:
We must live in consistency with the divine will, offer food to the hungry, visit prisoners, sustain and comfort the sick...In practice this corresponds exactly to the spirit of the Beatitudes...we will be judged on our decision to serve Christ in the hungry,the thirsty, the foreigner, the naked, the sick, the prisoner."

Bl. John Paul then cites Origen on the greater meaning of these words:when Origen, the great third-cetury writer, reaches verse 7, "the Lord give food to the hungry, the Lord sets the prisoners free: , he finds in it an implicit reference to the Eucharist: "We hunger for Christ and he himself will give us the bread of heaven. 'Give us this day our daily bread.' thos who say these words are hungry; those who feel the need for  bread are hungry." And this hunger is fully satisfied by the Sacrament of the Eucharist, in which man is nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ.

We can almost  always take any reference in the psalms to food, bread, wheat, wine and banquets and see  it as a type or symbol of  the Eucharist. Just one more thing to keep in the back of your mind as you mine the riches of the daily psalms of the Liturgy of the Hours.

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