December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 For the leader. A psalm of David.
- 2 Happy those concerned for the lowly and poor; when misfortune strikes, the LORD delivers them.
- The LORD keeps and preserves them, makes them happy in the land, and does not betray them to their enemies.
- The LORD sustains them on their sickbed, allays the malady when they are ill.
- Once I prayed, "LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, I have sinned against you.
- My enemies say the worst of me: 'When will that one die and be forgotten?'
- When people come to visit me, they speak without sincerity. Their hearts store up malice; they leave and spread their vicious lies.
- My foes all whisper against me; they imagine the worst about me:
- I have a deadly disease, they say; I will never rise from my sickbed.
- 3 Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me.
- 4 But you, LORD, have mercy and raise me up that I may repay them as they deserve."
- By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy no longer jeers at me.
- For my integrity you have supported me and let me stand in your presence forever.
- 5 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from all eternity and forever. Amen. Amen.
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1 [Psalm 41] A thanksgiving for rescue from illness (Psalm 41:4, 5, 9). Many people, even friends, have interpreted the illness as a divine punishment for sin and have ostracized the psalmist (Psalm 41:5-11). The healing shows the return of God's favor and rebukes the psalmist's detractors (Psalm 41:12-13).
2  Happy those concerned for the lowly and poor: other psalms use the same formula ("Happy those") for those whom God favors. Cf Psalm 32:1-2; 34:9; 40:5; 65:5. The psalmist's statement about God's love of the poor is based on the experience of being rescued (Psalm 41:1-3).
3  Even the friend . . . has scorned me: John 13:18 cites this verse to characterize Judas as a false friend. Scorned me: an interpretation of the unclear Hebrew, "made great the heel against me."
4  That I may repay them as they deserve: the healing itself is an act of judgment through which God decides for the psalmist and against the false friends. The prayer is not necessarily for strength to punish enemies.
5  The doxology, not part of the psalm, marks the end of the first of the five books of the Psalter. Compare Psalm 72:18-20; 89:53; 106:48.
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