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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Christological Psalms: Psalm 2

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Having considered some of the penitential themed psalms, we now begin a new theme in our series, namely, the Christological psalms.


The first psalm we will look at is Psalm 2: ‘God’s promise to his anointed’. The opening lines of the psalm present the rulers of the world in opposition to the Lord. The psalmist says that the rulers of the world ‘take counsel together against the Lord’. The picture is a tense one: it is one of opposition and antagonism. However, in the midst of this, we have an earthly ruler who is not like the rest, but rather is the Lord’s own king. He is begotten by God and enjoys his favour. If he asks, the Lord ‘will make the nations [his] heritage, and the ends of the earth [his] possession’. That the Lord can make the nations of the earth his chosen king’s heritage is a reminder of the boundless reach of God’s sovereignty. Indeed, the picture of earth’s rulers plotting against the Lord is comical; it even evokes divine laughter from Him who sits in the heavens’.

The figure of the chosen king is a messianic one. What is translated ‘anointed’ is in Hebrew, ‘meshiach’—messiah—and in Greek, ‘christos’—Christ. For us as Catholics, we see clearly in this text the messiahship of Our Lord Jesus Christ as the One appointed by God to have dominion over all the earth. In the Gospel account of the temptation of Our Lord, the devil was right to assume that Our Saviour sought dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth. So consumed with himself, however, the devil was wrong in thinking these nations were something he himself could give. Ultimately God is sovereign, as the psalm reminds us. In the person of Christ we realise that the messiah-king is not just an earthly ruler enjoying divine favour; we see in the person of Christ God Himself: the eternal God having assumed a human nature. Now truly the words of the psalm could be realised: the Eternal Lord having become incarnate could, with fear and with trembling, be approached and have His sacred feet kissed, as St Luke tells us the Magdalene readily did.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

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