The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
17th Sunday after Pentecost
* PDF Download • READINGS IN ENGLISH
—(1962 Missal) Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
ODAY’S GOSPEL is one of my favorite Gospels during the entire year. You may wonder why. I’m especially impressed by our Lord’s quoting of Psalm 109 to answer or refute his enemies. I have to admit that for a time I did not fully understand or appreciate this part of the Gospel where Jesus (quoting Ps. 109) says: “The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand.” But Jesus says something very important before quoting this text. He says “How is it that David in the Spirit said…?” and then quotes the psalm. This little phrase tells us that David—in writing the Psalms—was influenced or inspired by the Spirit.
Mystery of the Holy Trinity: Scholars agree that there were no clear references to the Holy Trinity in the Old Testament. God chose to reserve the revelation of that fact about Himself until New Testament times. In other words, this Mystery of our Faith was only more clearly revealed after Christ (the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity) took on our human nature and was born as an infant in Bethlehem.
Explanation of text: I didn’t really understand this section of the Bible or this part of the psalm until I was in the Novitiate and we studied all one hundred fifty psalms as part of our training. Then I learned that one could justly paraphrase this part of the Bible by saying:
“The first Lord mentioned was God the Father.
And He declared to the
second Lord mentioned as His Son.
And the fact that the Second One mentioned
was told to “Sit at His Right hand”
was a biblical way of saying
that He had equal power
with the first Lord mentioned.
This one is God the Father.
Monsignor Ronald Knox, who translated the entire Bible during the 1940s, translates this verse as: “To the Master I serve the Lord’s promise was given, Sit here at my right hand while I make thy enemies a footstool under thy feet.”
In the Spirit: We are then told that David was only able to say this because he was ‘inspired’ by the Spirit. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. This section also informs us that the writers of the Bible were inspired or guided by the Holy Spirit in what they wrote. This holds true for everything else written in the psalm.
Use of psalm: Since this psalm so uniquely sums up the facts about Christ, the Church uses this psalm as the FIRST PSALM AT VESPERS for each Sunday and Major Feast. And I’m told this verse is quoted in the New Testament more than any other verse of Sacred Scripture.
Overcoming enemies: This Psalm says much about Christ. Actually, I should say it ‘predicts’ much about Christ, because the psalm was written about 900 years before Christ even came in our human nature. It predicts that Christ would be a King and Priest. In our day and age I think it is good that we all be reminded that Christ will eventually overcome his enemies.
The enemy from within: One reason—the main reason—why I stress this fact in connection with the present crisis in the Church is because it seems most of our problems are arising from within the Church. The Church has survived many persecutions and problems coming from outside the Church. Today’s problems are unique. They are coming mainly from within the Church. They are coming from shepherds and leaders who should be defending the truth and not (seemingly, at least) seeking to destroy us from within.
The outcome: I can’t predict when this situation will change. But I’m sure from reading the rest of the psalm that Christ will eventually overcome His enemies. Right now, I have to put my faith and confidence in Him. I must hold on to the basic truths I know, even if there are many around who seemingly deny them. I do think a positive attitude is required. We know that the truth will eventually prevail. I can’t answer when or how. Right now I have to accept Christ’s Church with (seemingly, at least) many defects and flaws. But I have no doubt but that Christ is depending on each and every one of us to do what we can to help His Kingdom and Church prevail. +