PSALM 116: “Our blessing cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.” 2

How can you make a return to the Lord? Is there anyway you can actually ‘payback’ the Lord for all the good he has done for you?

Think about it: everything you have is a gift from God: your family, your friends, shelter, food … everything.

What can you possibly do to pay Him back? That is the question posed by the psalmist in Psalm 116 which Roman Catholics traditionally sing/pray on Holy Thursday.

The psalmist quickly provides an answer. We are called to do two things; take up the cup of salvation; and call upon the name of the Lord. That’s it.

Our Lord doesn’t need the ‘return,’ but we do, for this cup to which the psalmist prophetically refers holds the Blood of Christ.

God, the Father, knows that our very souls depend on this cup for our survival, which is why He sent His Son. On Holy Thursday, Jesus kneeled before His disciples as any lowly servant would, and washed their feet.

He modeled to us the importance of being servants to each other, which frees us from the chains of smothering self-centeredness, just as the psalmist sings:

“I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds.”

After drying His disciples’ feet, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at His last supper. Interestingly, Psalm 116 was written as much as a thousand years before the drama of Holy Thursday. And yet when the psalmist sings …

“To you will I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord …”

… it’s hard not to think of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It’s hard not to fall on our knees in sheer thanksgiving for this sacrifice our Savior made to give us life, eternal life.

Imagine: within about 12 hours, Jesus will be hanging from a cross, “calling upon the name of the Lord” in the most tragic cry in human history: “My God, My God, why have You abandoned me?” Psalm 116 should be, must be, our response.

[Lenten psalms are powerful prayers. Tom Quiner, composer of THE FIRE AND THE MERCY, The Pentecost Musical, has set over 100 psalms to music, including all of the psalms included in the Catholic lectionary for this Lenten cycle. This blog will post his commentaries on each of these psalms throughout Lent.]


  1. This time of the year finds me both filled w/ great joy and gratitude, and a tendency to cry when I imagine His pain and that of His mother as she watched helplessly.

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