A Psalm Survey For Christ The King

christ_pantocrator_mosaic_from_hagia_sophiaAcross the three years of the Sunday Lectionary plus the Roman Antiphonary, we Roman Catholics have some interesting choices for the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. I don’t pretend to offer a thorough study of these several psalms–that would take a chapter, if not a whole book. But I found some linked themes or ideas as I consulted the Lectionary, the Antiphonary, and other resources.

Most worshipers are familiar with the Psalm that follows the first reading. In the A, B, and C years respectively, the psalms are the 23rd, the 93rd, and the 122nd.

At entrance, Psalm 85 is an interesting choice. The Antiphonary gives this refrain:

The Lord speaks of peace to his people and his holy ones and to those who turn to him.

That should be familiar as one of the two common psalms for Advent.

For Communion, one option is to blend Psalm 34 or 57 with an antiphon from Psalm 117:

O praise the Lord, all you nations, for his merciful love towards us is great.

The alternate refrain from Matthew 28:20 is yoked to Psalm 68. The 34th (Taste and See) is always a communion option for Ordinary Time and even seasons.

When I checked the resource By Flowing Waters, I found other psalms in use there: Psalm 72 (with an antiphon of Daniel 7:27) for the entrance, Psalm 47 (with an antiphon of Isaiah 49:6) for preparation, and the Canticle of David from 1 Chronicles 29 (with an antiphon based on Micah 5:4c-5a).

Psalm 72 is a royal Psalm used every year on Epiphany, and in cycle A, this coming liturgical year, on the second Sunday of Advent. Psalm 47 should be familiar to liturgy geeks as the appointed Psalm for Ascension. The link to the power and stature of the Lord Jesus is obvious. David’s canticle touches on the kingship in ancient Israel.

I don’t offer any profound conclusions on any of this; just a note that we do well not to think of liturgical feasts and seasons in isolation. Links across the liturgical year from the ending Sundays to Advent, Epiphany, and Easter feasts suggest a greater awareness than just historical or spiritual reenactments of salvation history.

Speaking for my parish’s plans for the coming Sunday, we are emphasizing music that tells the story of the Lord. Also our posture of trust in his power–a power that protects, guides, and opens our hearts and minds to things greater than just earthly authorities. Jesus Christ is “King of the Universe,” as the Missal describes.

Image credit.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to A Psalm Survey For Christ The King

  1. Liam says:

    Note that Ps 122 is the responsorial psalm assigned to both the final Sunday of the 3-year Lectionary cycle and the (next and) first Sunday of the cycle, in Advent 1 in Year A.

  2. Melody says:

    I love Psalm 117. Our choir group does a version from OCP as a responsorial psalm. But my favorite version of it is J.S. Bach’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqMOV4yvtXw
    We did this one when I was in high school mixed chorus, in English. I thought at the time that Bach must have a sense of humor; he took the shortest Psalm in the Bible and made it into about 11 pages.

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