Friday, October 18, 2019

Psalm 116 (117) with Commentaries of Church Fathers

PSALM  116 (117)

1 Alleluia. Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; Praise Him, all you peoples, 

2 For His mercy rules over us; And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

TEHILLIM: The Psalm contains magnificent praise to God. David describes why it is proper for him to love God in light of all the miracles He performed for him. Dvid does not know how to repay God, declaring ir impossible to repay all that God has done for  him.
David recited this psalm in connection with the troubles he endured as he fled from one place to another in fear of Saul and of those who plotted against him. When God saved David from all of them, he recited this psalm.

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;

REARDON: why do the nations (ethnoi) and the peoples praise the Lord? “For His mercy (eleos) is confirmed upon us, and the truth of the Lord abides forever.” When St. Paul quotes the first half of our psalm in Romans 15: 11, it is in support of his large argument “that the Gentiles (ethnoi) might glorify God for His mercy (eleos)” (15: 9).
The word “nations” in this psalm does not mean the modern “countries” as political units. In the psalm’s context, indeed, the term has no political meaning at all, even though ethnic divisions are very often embodied in political structures. Standing as a synonymous parallel to “peoples,” the word “nations” in this psalm has a general reference to those various distinctions among human beings that are determined by geography, language, specific histories, and other cultural patterns. The sense is conveyed by Daniel’s exhortation that “all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him” (Dan. 7: 14).
THEODORET: He summons all to a dance at the same time: he provided the occasions of salvation for all the nations, not Greeks only and Romans, but for all savages, employing the sacred apostles as ministers of benefaction. “Go, make disciples of all the nations,” he said, “baptizing them in the name of die Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I commanded you.” In obedience to tills law they traversed all land and sea, one bringing Indians to Christ, one Egyptians, one Ethiopians. Blessed Paul teaches concisely to how many nations he offered the divine message, “so that from Jerusalem as far round as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the Gospel of Christ.” It was not, in fact, by following the direct route but by encompassing the nations situated in the middle that he offered the saving teachings: “Thus I make it my ambition not to preach the Gospel where the name of Christ has already been heard, lest I build on someone else’s foundation; rather, as it is written, Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard shall understand.” Later, of course, he set foot on Italy and reached Spain, and brought benefit to the islands situated in the ocean. In fact, in his letter to the Romans he said, “I hope to visit you on my travels to Spain, and to be sent on to there by you if first I have enjoyed your company for a little  while"; and writing to the remarkable Titus he says, “I left you behind in Crete for the reason that you should appoint elders town by town, as I directed you.” Thus the excellent John rid Asia of its former godlessness; thus the divinely inspired Andrew illuminated Greece with the rays of the knowledge of God; thus the divine Philip rebutted the error of both Phrygias; thus the mighty Peter traveled from Jerusalem as far as the city of Rome, offering the rays of truth to all; thus they all traversed the whole world, dispersed the gloom of ignorance, and gave a glimpse of the Sun of Righteousness. The inspired word was, therefore, right to urge all the nations to offer the hymn to God, since they all enjoyed salvation.

Praise Him, all you peoples,

THEODORET: In former times Jews were scattered to the ends of the whole world, taught to worship the one God. So since they no longer occupied only Palestine, and did not continue to form one people under one king, but were scattered among the nations and obeyed their rulers while maintaining their own lifestyle and observing the direction of the Law, he was right to speak of them not as a people but as peoples. In fact, most of them accepted the divine message: in Jerusalem three thousand and five thousand were caught by the fishermen on a single occasion; and later there were large numbers beyond counting, the divine James said; and in Syria, Cilicia, Lycaonia, Pisidia, Asia [Minor], and Painphylia,* and in all the other nations the apostles offered the divine message to Jews first. Some believed and enjoyed the truth, while others contradicted the beneficial teachings. The inspired word, then, is right to urge even them to sing the praises of the benefactor, calling them peoples.

For His mercy rules over us;

THEODORET: it was by applying mercy alone that he achieved our salvation. Thus blessed Paul also says, “When the goodness and the loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not through the righteous deeds we had done but in his great mercy, through washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out on us in rich measure"; and again, “By grace you have been saved through faith: and this is not from you, but a gift of God”; and elsewhere, “The saying is sure, and worthy of complete acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first but I received mercy." God proved his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. So the inspired word was right to say his merry to us has been deepened.

And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

THEODORET: for he bestowed the salvation, which he promised through the holy authors. Blessed Paul also says as much in beginning his letter to the Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, set apart for God's Gospel, which he promised beforehand through his inspired authors in the holy Scriptures"; and again, "I say that Jesus Christ became a minister of the circumcision on behalf of God’s truth for the confirmation of the promises to the ancestors and lor the nations to glorify God for his mercy.” Since, therefore, the God of all fulfilled the promises, bestowed the salvation he promised, and opened the fountains of mercy to all, we who have come forward from the Jews and you who have come to faith from the nations, blend together in harmonious singing and thus repay the benefactor.

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