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EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVING MERCY


The Psalms have always played a vital role in the prayer of the Church (Breviary) and the Lectionary (Readings for the celebration of Mass), inviting us to reflect daily. Last week, we explored the Psalms that occur in the Lectionary from Ash Wednesday, 1st and 2nd Sunday of Lent in Year B. This weekend, we will take a look at the Psalms that occur from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and Palm Sunday in Year B.

 

Psalm 19 is a wisdom hymn that is read on the Third Sunday of Lent. It enlightens us about the purity and holiness of the commandments of the Lord, which brings gladness to our hearts. His precepts will never lead us to impurity; instead, they bring happiness, confidence, knowledge, and light to our paths even when we live in darkness. During Lent, we are reminded to keep the Word of God and obey His commandments, which will bring us peace and great reward. As it says in the responsorial psalm, “You, Lord, have the message of eternal life,” (Psalm 19).


On the fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday, Psalm 137:1-6 is read. It is a communal lament hymn expressing the sorrows of the Jewish people exiled in Babylon during the 6th century. The Holy City of Jerusalem was destroyed, and the magnificent temple built by King Solomon was left in ruins. Many people lost their loved ones in battle, and homes and homelands were destroyed, making it the lowest point in Israel’s rich history. It is important to remember the good times, even when we feel sad. We should hold onto the many joys and wonderful experiences we have had in the past, as the Psalm says, “Sing to us one of the songs of Zion.” When we read Psalm 137, we are reminded of the song “By the Rivers of Babylon,” which was famously sung by Boney M.

 

On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, we will read Psalm 51, a penitential psalm that echoes, “O God, wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” The psalmist implores God to wash away our guilt and cleanse us from our sins. Our sins weigh heavily on us and can crush us, but we can be lifted up through God’s mercy. When we ask for forgiveness and repentance from our sins, we shall be granted the joy of salvation through His goodness and grace.



On Palm Sunday, as we begin Holy Week, we hear Jesus’ cry from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Ps 22). Jesus experienced a moment of terrible despair, as God placed the sins of the world on His Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered on the Cross for our salvation. During Holy Week, let us ponder on those whom we may have abandoned, rejected or despised, and consider how we can be reunited with them.

 

“If you kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand their ground?” (Ps 130: 3). Let’s walk humbly and meditatively, praying the seven Psalms during Lent because they make us appropriate for repentance of sinners, to experience God’s loving mercy and to draw us closer to Christ Jesus.



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