Today’s responsorial psalm is a selection of verses from Psalm 119, starting with verse 66. I knew that this psalm was the longest by far but was reminded of how complex it is by the footnote in my Bible which names it “an alphabetic psalm of didactic nature” and elaborates: “In the form of prayer it inculcates the excellence of keeping the divinely revealed law…there is a constant repetition of the main theme with numerous disconnected variations of it. The external form is based on an elaborately constructed scheme. The psalmist chose eight synonyms – law, statutes, commands, ordinances, decrees, precepts, words and promise – and in his strophes of eight verses apiece planned perhaps to use a different synonym in each verse. In the present form of the text, this plan is not perfectly carried out…but the psalm is the longest by far and each of the eight verses in the first strophe begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each verse of the second strophe with the second letter and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet. Hence, there are 176 verses in the psalm.” Below are a few of the verses from today (in alternate translation) that speak to the beauty of God’s law and the psalmist’s desire to know and follow.
So good are you, you bring forth good; instruct me in the pattern of this deeper wisdom…I’ve slowly come to know your perfect word, your ways, even in my deepest trials, for there your love is always present to console; this is your promise made. Your love shall come and I shall live according to its law, my soul’s delight…So I will not forget your precepts, Lord; by them you hold me up in life. All that I am is yours…I seek to be the image of your word.