Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Invitatory (Psalm 95): Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, March 27th, 2014

           Does anyone know the importance of Psalm 95 in the Church’s liturgical prayer?  [No answer.]  Fr. Rich?  [Laughs, then says,] “We use it at Mass.”  Well that’s true, but it is an important part of daily prayer.
            Psalm 95 is used as the Invitatory prayer which begins the Liturgy of the Hours.  It is the prayer I pray when I first wake up in the morning.  To begin it we mark our forehead, mouth and heart with the sign of the cross (as we do before the Gospel at Mass) and say, “Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.”  It is worth reading this Psalm now:

            Come, let us sing to the Lord
                        and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
            Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
                        and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

            The Lord is God, the mighty God,
                        the great king over all the gods.
            He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
                        and the highest mountains as well.
            He made the sea; it belongs to him,
                        The dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

            Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
                        bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
            For he is our God and we are his people,
                        the flock he shepherds.

            Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
            Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
                        in the wilderness,
            when at Meriba and Massah
                        they challenged me and provoked me,
            Although they had seen all of my works.

            Forty years I endured that generation.
            I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
                        and they do not know my ways.”
            So I swore in my anger,
                        “They shall not enter into my rest.”

            So why does the Church ask bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful to begin the Liturgy of the Hours every day with Psalm 95?  Why not Psalm 23 or another?  I think it is because this Psalm can set the tone for a day.  It begins by praising God and reminds us first thing in the morning that it is God we serve.  And shouldn’t this be the first thought of our day?  Additionally, this Psalm directly confronts sin and it helps to remember our battle against sin throughout the day and especially at its beginning.
            Pray with Psalm 95.  Try praying it first thing in the morning to begin by praising God and asking for His help to avoid sin throughout the day.

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