The Songs of Zion

Psalms in Liturgy and Life

gardenandsunNestled somewhere after the first reading in every Liturgy of the Word is a humble liturgical feature known to most as the Responsorial Psalm. Even though the Psalms are Scripture, homilists rarely preach on them. Depending on certain factors – the quality of the church’s sound system, the church’s acoustics, the ability of the cantor – it may be hard to make out the words of the Responsorial Psalm as they are sung. It becomes all too easy to treat the Responsorial Psalm as a pleasant musical interlude between the first and second readings.

The Psalms present other challenges to us. If you open a Bible and start reading them, you will find a very wide range of emotions and desires expressed by them. You will even find expressions of anger and vengeance that seem rude at best and scandalous at worst to the contemporary reader. Expressions that you’ll never find in a contemporary hymn, and that you’d likely never use in your personal prayers.  Continue reading “The Songs of Zion”