3rd Sunday of Lent (B)


Lord, you have the words of everlasting life

This is a song of thanksgiving sung in the temple by the Israelites in gratitude to God for helping them in their time of distress. One could easily imagine Abraham and Isaac singing this psalm after the Lord delivers them from their ordeal.

Commentary Excerpts

Feasting on the Word

Goodness of the Law

Psalm 19:7–13 contains a hymn on the goodness of the law, which pairs well with both the Decalogue in Exodus and John’s account of the money changers who missed the spirit of the law altogether. A Lenten sermon on the Christian moral life could draw upon the psalm and Exodus to show how the law intends to enflesh the covenant of righteous living in day-today particularities—but when the intention gives way to law as end in itself, we end up with faith commodified. It is unethical, but possible, to follow the law with the wrong attitude; but it is not possible to be ethical without following the law. A sermon on the covenant-making wonder of the Decalogue would be enhanced by Psalm 19’s praise of the law itself (vv. 7–10) and its effect on each member of the community (vv. 11–13). The homilist can remind worshipers of the gift of our Jewish roots by inviting them to appreciate the Torah (law or teaching), not as empty obligation, but as specific enfleshment of what a moral life looks like. For Christians, Jesus is this enfleshment, the one who fulfills the law.

SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD, YEAR B (12 Volume Set); David L. Bartlett (Editor); Copyright © 2011. Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.


Reframing the meaning of the Law

Psalm 19:7–11 When we think of statutes, precepts and commands, we often think of rules that keep us from having fun. But here we see the opposite—law that revives us, makes us wise, gives joy to the heart, gives light to the eyes, warns us, and rewards us. That’s because God’s laws are guidelines and lights for our path, rather than chains on our hands and feet. They point at danger and warn us, and then point at success and guide us.

SOURCE: Content taken from Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition. Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


3rd Sunday of Lent (B)

Catholic Bible Study

God’s Laws are the Words of Life

by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)

God gave His people what we sing in today’s psalm: “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.”  The people expressed their love for God and His covenant union with them in obedience to the Law and by participating in the liturgy of the Jerusalem Temple’s twice-daily worship service.  The people offered the daily communal sacrifice of the unblemished Tamid lambs for their atonement and sanctification.  Together with the morning and afternoon Tamid sacrifice, they also brought to God’s altar their sin sacrifices, communion sacrifices, whole burnt gift offerings, and the feast days’ festival offerings that bound them in their love relationship with the Almighty God.

Law of Yahweh: Seven synonyms

This psalm is another psalm attributed to King David.  The psalm describes the Law of Yahweh using seven synonyms: perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, and just.

The Qualities of the Law

The Law is a gift intended to bring happiness to one’s life and proclaim the glory of God.  The qualities of the Law bestow benefits to those who are obedient to its precepts and commandments.

Living the Law in obedience

In verse 9, “fear of Yahweh” is part of the Law that commands men and women to honor, respect, and fear offending God.  Living the Law in obedience is a greater reward than anything the material world can offer because the Lord God will reward faith and adherence to the Law.  He is the author of the Law who has “the words of everlasting life.”.

SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.


3rd Sunday of Lent (B)

PIANO: Francesca Larosa
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Video with Vocal Line Included

Official LIVE video of Psalm 19 ‘Lord, You Have the Words’ (Francesca LaRosa – Psalms WORD FOR WORD) with the vocal line included to help you sing along! (Perfect for cantors to prepare for Sunday mass) Sheet music LINK BELOW – available on my website (piano, vocal, and guitar are available NOW) at https://www.francescalarosa.com/ (Bulletin and worship aid inserts come FREE with your purchase as well). Prayers to you and your families, and may you always grow in holiness!

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Commentary & Music

Psalm 19 Music and Reflection. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life! Commentary at 0:21. Music at 3:18. Johan van Parys explains how the Psalms help us empathize with other people. Julia Elizabeth and Walter Tambor follow with a lively musical rendition.

  • Location: Recorded live at The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN
  • Reflection: Johan van Parys
  • Music: Julia Elizabeth, Walter Tambor
  • Video: Jonathan Vikesland, Billy Scheremet, and Mike Schwinghammer
  • Composer: Rawn Harbor
  • Published by: OCP, 2006
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The Original 3000 Year Old Melody of the Psalm 19 – Revealed?

Following the tragic destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the entire musical legacy of the Temple, both vocal and instrumental, seemed to be forever lost. However, the Masoretic scribes preserved (along with the biblical consonantal text itself) an ancient “reading tradition” dating back (according to themselves) to the Second Temple Era; and beginning about 1,200 years ago, they painstakingly copied that tradition out in exacting detail. The Masoretic Text is still the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible that we have.

Part of the “reading tradition” the Masoretes preserved was a series of “accents” (“Te Amim”), which occur throughout the entire Tanakh (Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim) in two systems. The Masoretes did not understand the meaning or the monumental significance of these accents, and for centuries, there have been countless theories as to what their original meaning was.

Most theories have started from the assumption that they were to emphasize precise points of grammar in the text. Leaving aside all these debates, Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura concentrated solely on finding a musical meaning of these “accents”.

Through countless experiments and a laborious process of irrefutable verification (using the Hebrew verbal phrase structure itself as her “Rosetta Stone”), she finally realized that all these symbols represent musical tones: the 7 degrees of a heptatonic scale, or else ornaments of one to three notes! The accents, were, in fact transcriptions of hand gestures – which formed the ancient musical notation system of cheironomy, whereby a specific hand gesture represented a specific change in the pitch of a melody.


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