Psalms 145 is one of three ordinary time common psalms that appear in the wedding Lectionary. Like Psalm 34, it’s an acrostic composition, the first letter of each verse giving the Hebrew alphabet in order. Unlike Psalm 34, it doesn’t really go into much depth on its various themes. Psalm 103 is pretty close in terms of overall theme and development. If you’re an engaged couple trying to choose between 103 and 145, you might as well just consider musical settings of each and pick the one you like.
The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
This is one awkward refrain to set to music. I composed a setting for my younger brother’s wedding ten years ago and I never got used to the refrain. I’d prefer an alleluia if this is the best the Lectionary or ICEL can devise.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you
and you give them their food in due season.
The Lord is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
The psalm begins with an expression of praise to God, but the Lectionary editors plant the wedding psalmist in the middle of the text. The good news is that this collection of verses picks up on one of Psalm 145’s themes, that of faithful believers petitioning God for divine grace.
This idea does work well in the context of the wedding, though more couples choose something along the theme of praise of God. If an engaged couple had a sound awareness of their dependence on God, this is a good choice. This psalm works particularly well with the Old Testament passage from Tobit 8, though it might be a bit much to expect the congregation to be aware of the ins and outs of Tobiah and Sarah’s story.
When looking at any of the Psalm 145 settings for ordinary time, be aware the Lectionary’s text emphasizes the kingship of God. That’s not a bad notion to add to a Catholic wedding. But it doesn’t focus exclusively on the theme of petition and grace the wedding selection offers. I think the Lectionary setting for Sunday Mass is a bit scattered in focus. The wedding verses make for a tighter development.