Wedding Lectionary: Psalm 112: (1bc adapted), 1bc-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

Except for the final verse, an invective against the wicked, the whole of this acrostic (alphabetical) psalm is given in five stanzas. Psalm 112 isn’t chosen often. I don’t ever recall playing for or attending a wedding that included it.

It is similar to Psalms 33 and 145, covered earlier in this series. Walter Brueggemann, in The Message of the Psalms characterized these as among his “psalms of orientation.” In other words, they communicate tradition, belief, the way things ought to be. That’s a good posture from which to celebrate a wedding liturgy: grounded in tradition, steeped in the memory of what has gone before, so that we can live today and in the future as God intends.

This is a cause for rejoicing, and the psalmist has placed an “Alleluia” at the beginning of the text. The musician or couple may choose that as their sung refrain:

Blessed the man who greatly delights in the Lord’s commands.

or:

Alleluia.

The stanzas that follow underscore the reasons why God blesses the person who not only follows, but derives happiness from such faithfulness. First is the blessing like Abraham’s (cf Genesis 12:2ff, 15:5-6ff): the making of a nation, or perhaps a great family tradition:

Blessed the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands.

His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

(refrain)

Not only will material goodness be with the faithful, but also the qualities associated with God: mercy, kindness, and justice (cf Exodus 34:6-7)

Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever.

Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.

(refrain)

The Jewish understanding of virtue includes not only a person’s standing before God, but how she or he conducts relationships. This stanza picks up on the second and adds a calm self-confidence. A just person knows her or his quality:

Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice;

He shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.

An evil report he shall not fear.

(refrain)

His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.

(refrain)

The horn is the sign of strength and plenty in the Jewish tradition (Hannah’s Canticle in 1 Samuel 2:1). These words also echo the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55):

Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever;

his horn shall be exalted in glory.

(refrain)

A couple aware of God’s generosity in life and who are willing to practice that generosity in kind might consider Psalm 112. The exclusively male reference in the text may be too great an obstacle for many Catholics. Which is too bad, because this psalm is the most justice-oriented of those in the official wedding selections.

For those squeamish about an inclusive language edit, perhaps this is a good counterweight to the feminine reference in the Old Testament reading from Proverbs 31. Taken together, a couple couldn’t go wrong.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Rite of Marriage, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wedding Lectionary: Psalm 112: (1bc adapted), 1bc-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

  1. Jenna says:

    Thank you for the informative post!

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