Today's psalm, Psalm 84, continues the meditation on our coming Redemption through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.
The antiphon sets the tone, with the words of the good thief, asking Jesus t remember him when he comes into his kingdom.
Almost but not yet
In fact the psalm captures the whole 'almost but not yet' flavour of these end times.
The original historical context for the psalm is thought to be the disappointments that faced the returnees from Exile. The people rejoice at their new-found freedom; yet the pall of God's continuing anger still seems to hang over them.
In the context of Good Friday, the message is all the more poignant, as Fr Pius Pasch comments:
"...Through Christ's death on the Cross the debt of sin has been wiped away (1st strophe), and the fruit of that death will now be given to him who asks (2nd strophe). Again God walks here below with man. Peace and justice, banished from the earth since the first sin, embrace beneath the Cross."
Accordingly, the psalm looks forward to the heavenly kingdom, where
"Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed.
Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice has looked down from heaven."
But its key message for us at this moment in time, is the call to conversion: "Convert us, O God our saviour: and turn off your anger from us."
Benedixísti, Dómine, terram tuam: * avertísti captivitátem Jacob.
Remisísti iniquitátem plebis tuæ: * operuísti ómnia peccáta eórum.
Mitigásti omnem iram tuam: * avertísti ab ira indignatiónis tuæ.
Convérte nos, Deus, salutáris noster: * et avérte iram tuam a nobis.
Numquid in ætérnum irascéris nobis? * aut exténdes iram tuam a generatióne in generatiónem?
Deus, tu convérsus vivificábis nos: * et plebs tua lætábitur in te.
Osténde nobis, Dómine, misericórdiam tuam: * et salutáre tuum da nobis.
Audiam quid loquátur in me Dóminus Deus: * quóniam loquétur pacem in plebem suam.
Et super sanctos suos: * et in eos, qui convertúntur ad cor.
Verúmtamen prope timéntes eum salutáre ipsíus: * ut inhábitet glória in terra nostra.
Misericórdia, et véritas obviavérunt sibi: * justítia, et pax osculátæ sunt.
Véritas de terra orta est: * et justítia de cælo prospéxit.
Etenim Dóminus dabit benignitátem: * et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
Justítia ante eum ambulábit: * et ponet in via gressus suos.
And the English:
Lord, you have blessed your land: you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of your people: you have covered all their sins.
You have mitigated all your anger: you have turned away from the wrath of your indignation.
Convert us, O God our saviour: and turn off your anger from us.
Will you be angry with us for ever: or will you extend your wrath from generation to generation? You will turn, O God, and bring us to life: and your people shall rejoice in you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy; and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me: for he will speak peace unto his people:
And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart.
Surely his salvation is near to them that fear him: that glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed.
Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice has looked down from heaven.
For the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.
Justice shall walk before him: and shall set his steps in the way.
Tenebrae of Good Friday
Nocturn I: Psalms 2, 21, 26
Nocturn II: Psalms 37, 39, 53*
Nocturn III: Psalms 58, 87*, 93
Lauds: 50*, 142, 84, [Hab], 147