Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time [II]
II Samuel 1:1-4,11-12,19,23-27 + Mark 3:20-21
January 20, 2018
Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
The refrain from today’s Responsorial Psalm is so familiar to Christians that we probably don’t think twice about it. Of course, that’s exactly the problem. We take for granted the profundity of this verse from Psalm 80. In fact, this sentence is used as a refrain within Psalm 80 itself, there being sung thrice.
But what do the words of this refrain mean? How could one possibly see the face of the Lord? Isn’t God pure Spirit? There is no material aspect or dimension to God as God. Besides, in Scripture the Lord declares that no man may see Him and live [Exodus 33:20].
Then we must conclude that the Psalmist is speaking of: (a) seeing God as something other than God; (b) seeing in a non-material manner; or (c) seeing the Lord in a life beyond this world and the inevitable death one experiences here.
However, the meaning of the refrain needs to be explored in light of another question as well. The refrain seems to imply a causal connection between seeing the Lord’s Face and being saved. Why would seeing the Lord’s Face bring about salvation? Or is the refrain equating the two: saying that to see the Lord’s Face is in fact what salvation consists of? Is the psalmist describing in poetic terms what Catholic theology calls the Beatific Vision?
In the midst of all these questions, we may ponder the goodness of a God who invites us into such salvation.