Q: I have an interest in Inseperable Love: A Commentary on The Order of Celebrating Matrimony and when I looked it up online, I came across your blog.
I study in Rome and I’m writing a commentary on Psalm 128. The OCM is wonderful and I have experienced it in person, but I was taken aback when I discovered around this time last year that the end of Psalm 128 is omitted. Often a reading is cut short as an option, so the long and short versions both appear; however, with this ordo the Psalm is only available in the short form. I think this is problematic.
Could you please point me in the direction of best resources to approach the rationale behind shortening the responsorial psalm so that it ends with the hope of seeing grandchildren? With the younger generations leaving the Church in droves, it seems like a wedding is a perfect place to encourage not only the begetting or more children, but that we would retain the faith. The psalm is not angry or over the top, but that final line can offer preaching points for the deacon or priest who witnesses the vows.
Any assistance you can offer would be tremendously appreciated.
A: Just to make sure I understand your question, are you referring to the absence of the line, “On Israel peace”? Or the absence of the line about seeing children’s children?
Q: The OCM 2nd edition omits the following: “in a happy Jerusalem! On Israel peace!” The responsorial psalm simply ends “May you see your children’s children,” which is a lovely notion (presumably that the newly weds will live to old age to see their grandchildren; however, the Christian understanding of “in a happy Jerusalem” seems to indicate that the newly weds, their children, and even their grandchildren will be happy members of the Church Militant and eventually, following the ultimate end of marriage, as members of the Church Triumphant.
Again, I am most grateful for your even taking time to reply.
A: You raise an interesting question. I’ve checked the Ordo lectionum, and Psalm 128 (127) occurs in the following lectionary numbers: 17, 140, 157, 332, 356, 375, 424, 427, 480, 658, 739, and 803, which is the one for weddings. Out of all of these instances, the only one that includes any of verse 6 is 140, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, when Jesus teaches about marriage in the gospel (Mark 10:2-16) and the first reading gives the story of the two becoming one in Genesis 2:18-24.
The English translation of the OCM has ADDED verse 6a to the citation in the second Latin typical edition. All of verse 6 is missing in Latin, including the reference to children’s children.
I now enter the world of speculation. The first instance, lectionary #17, is Holy Family Sunday, where, PERHAPS, verse 6 was omitted because Joseph and Mary were not going to see their children’s children. PERHAPS the full psalm was included in the second instance of the lectionary to refer to the blessings of married life. After that, PERHAPS it was a clerical error. The abbreviated psalm ended up filling the rest of the lectionary where the full psalm would have worked just fine, but someone got confused. And when the English translation was made, someone else may have gingerly requested that the Vatican add 6a to our translation, at least to get the reference to children’s children into a responsorial psalm, without thinking of going for the full verse and not considering why it may have been omitted.
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy has digitized the reports that the study groups made to the Consilium while the revised liturgy was underway. It would be like searching for a needle in a haystack, but you could read through hundreds of pages of reports in Latin that the lectionary study group prepared in the 1960s, just to see if anyone wrote anything about this psalm. I think it’s unlikely.
Thank you for your comments on my work. Be assured of my prayers as you continue your study in the eternal city.