This is the Day, You, O God, Have Made

In the Jewish scriptures, Psalm 118 is a thanksgiving psalm and was an entrance psalm from a Temple liturgy, offering solemn praise to God. What an appropriate psalm for our Resurrection feast – a feast of victory. For Christians, we sing this at the Easter Vigil and Easter Day Masses. And what a victory it is – Jesus was raised from the dead. Death is not victorious. The first two verses invite the worshipers to praise God. Verses 16-17 echo Moses’ song in the Exodus, celebrating Israel’s coming through the waters of chaos into life. The final two are from an ancient proverb – what is insignificant has become great through divine election. The thoughts and actions of many Jewish and Christian ancestors have been rejected, but today we stand on their shoulders. The late Fr. Carroll Stuhlmueller, suggested that the refrain is better translated “on the day when God takes action.” (adapted from The Cultural World of the Prophets , Year B, by John J. Pilch, pg. 60-61 © The Liturgical Press).

We give thanks to you, for you are good,  and your steadfast love endures forever.
Let the descendants of Israel say: “Your steadfast love endures forever.”

O God, you have triumphed; your reign is exalted. You have triumphed over all;
I shall not die, I shall live and recount your wondrous deeds.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is your doing, O God; it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day which you have made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

[verses adapted from People’s Companion to the Breviary © 1997 by the Carmelites of Indianapolis]