Snacking on the Word: Today’s Blessings

Today’s Lectionary readings contain two Old Testament pericopes of blessing. Through Moses (numbers 6:24-26), God tells Aaron to bless the people thus:

The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!

And we also have the oft-overlooked Psalm 67, which I think is a Scripture text just waiting for someone to compose a “long-laster” based upon it:

May God be gracious to us and bless us; may God’s face shine upon us.

So shall your rule be known upon the earth, your saving power among all the nations.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you!

May the nations be glad and shout for joy; for you govern the peoples justly, you guide the nations upon the earth.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.

May God bless us still; that the ends of the earth may revere our God.

Note the shifting in perspective: the people collectively calling upon God in the first section and in the last two. Then we have the direct address of God in between, but the “people” are second person. Perhaps it shows that even in temple worship, the people did not sing everything all the time.

The main point of the readings being that the new year is a perfect time to invoke God’s blessings. We remember good things God has done in the past. We are hopeful that 2007 won’t be a total catastrophe. And the ultimate goal is a universal (the ends of the earth) recognition of God.

All in all, a good thrust for today’s holy day.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Snacking on the Word: Today’s Blessings

  1. Talmida says:

    That’s an odd translation you have there, Todd.

    I notice at the USCCB link to the lectionary that you provide, verse 3 of the psalm is (correctly) translated,

    “So may your WAY be known upon earth;
    among all nations, your salvation.” (emph. mine)

    However in the NAB translation that you quote in the body of your post, that line is rendered

    “So shall your RULE be known upon the earth, your saving power among all the nations.” (emph. mine)

    Does the American lectionary ordinarily use a different translation of the Psalms? That’s a pretty big distinction to my mind.

  2. Liam says:


    The Lectionary and the NAB have diverged, that divergence accelerating during the Lectionary translation wars of the 1990s (the Lectionary was never quite exactly the same as the NAB in the first place, IIRC). I suppose the NAB may eventually be reconciled to the Lectionary when the latter is finished. Or it may not be. Depends on what the USCCB wants in that regard.

  3. Todd says:

    I’m not a big fan of Lectionary trimming of the psalms, so rather than cut and paste around the antiphon, I just presented the whole of the Psalm 67 text. Your commentary on the divergence is noted, but not new. Imagine what the people in the pew would think if they knew their conservative darlings were “changing the Bible” in the same way those feminists altered it for a truer rendering of “homo.”

  4. KiwiNomad06 says:

    Off topic here….. but not sure how else to contact you. I have discontinued my Catholic fringe dweller blog, and I suggest it needs to go off your sidebar. The url has been ‘taken over’ by a search list that leads to some vicious pop-ups when you try to leave the page. It tries to get you to download a ‘cleaner’. I think it is a front for spyware.

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