Psalm 15

The responsorial psalm for today’s liturgy asks us to pray with Psalm 15.  Even though you may not have done so in the past, count up the different criteria for a person who is worthy of living on God’s holy mountain in God’s tabernacle.  Interestingly enough, it is a set of ten different admonitions, dare I say “commandments,” some of which mirror the traditional Ten.

LORD, who may abide in your tent?  Who may dwell on your holy mountain?

1.       Whoever walks without blame,

2.       doing what is right,

3.       speaking truth from the heart.

4.       Who does not slander with his tongue,

5.       does no harm to a friend,

6.       never defames a neighbor.

7.       Who disdains the wicked but honors those who fear the LORD;

8.       Who keeps an oath despite the cost,

9.       lends no money at interest,

10.   accepts no bribe against the innocent.

Whoever acts like this shall never be shaken.

As Jesus points out in the Gospel, there are really two commandments upon which all the others are based.  If we add up all the commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures, we would find hundreds.  So a list of ten was developed to make it easier for the people to remember.  Taking a cue from the sacred writer of the Book of Exodus and the Book of Deuteronomy, the psalmist drew up his own list in Psalm 15. 

While tradition dictates that we examine our conscience using the Ten Commandments, an interesting way to shake up our spiritual lives, especially if we have become lethargic, would be to use this list as an examen from time to time.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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