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St. Agatha, Virgin Martyr

Reading I Kings 8:1-7,9-13
Gospel Mark 6:53-56

Lord, go up to the place of your rest!

Today’s Responsorial Psalm comes from the first half of Psalm 132. The refrain is, “Lord, go up to the place of your rest!” In itself this sounds like a strange thing to say to the Almighty. Why does the Lord need us to tell Him where to go? Why does the Lord need to go to a place of rest? What is the broader context for this refrain?

Within the setting of the Old Testament, we could imagine this refrain verse being spoken during the Exodus or one of the exiles from the Holy Land. In these settings, the place of the Lord’s rest would refer to His final “resting place” on earth: the Temple in Jerusalem. It’s there that the priests enter to offer right worship to the Lord, according to the dictates of His Law. Within this setting we can certainly interpret Psalm 132 according to the original meaning of the human author.

In a further sense, however, we listen to Psalm 132 in terms of its fulfillment in Christ. The Lord is Jesus, who entered our fallen world for us men and our salvation. This psalm, then, speaks to the Ascension of the Lord as the completion of the Incarnate Word’s earthly mission. Our own share in this rest is what we await beyond death, although even now in the sanctuary of the Living God, in the right worship of the Eucharist we may share in the rest of His Real Presence.