[Lenten psalms are powerful prayers. Tom Quiner, composer of THE FIRE AND THE MERCY, The Pentecost Musical, has set over 100 psalms to music, including all of the psalms included in the Catholic lectionary for this Lenten cycle. This blog will post his commentaries on each of these psalms throughout Lent.]
Are the ‘baseball gods’ steadfast?
How about the football or basketball ‘gods?’
Anyone who has ever had a favorite sports team knows that the [name of sport] gods are fickle. Just ask any Chicago Cubs fan.
But our God is steadfast. He is faithful, righteous, upright, and just. He is there for us always. To use another sports reference, He will go to the mat for us.
Psalm 33 covers a lot of turf. But the verses covered in this Lenten excerpt focus on the character qualities of a God who we can count on more than any army or government … or sports team.
He is our shield.
The second verse says ‘the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him.’ Fear isn’t a negative word in this context. Rather, it suggests our awe and respect for a Creator who deserves our submission knowing that He, and only He, can deliver us from death.
Psalm 33 is a hopeful psalm. Accordingly, this music setting is written in a major key and incorporates a light, Latin rhythm in honor of the rich Latino influence in the Americas. After all, more than 20 million Americans are of Hispanic descent, and some 61% of those are Catholic.
The text of any responsorial psalm is always paramount. Although the tempo of this psalm is a little faster than typical, the keyboardist and cantor need to rehearse it enough times to find a comfortable tempo to clearly express the words.
And what words they are: “May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hopes in you.”
Saint John Paul the Great eloquently puts this text in perspective:
“Divine grace and human hope meet and embrace. Indeed, God’s loving faithfulness envelopes, warms and protects us like a mantle, offering serenity and giving our faith and hope a sound foundation.”
Now, if only God were a Chicago Cubs fan. Well, in 2016, maybe, just maybe He was!
[Would you like a copy of the musical setting for this psalm? Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can email you back a copy.]