Johannine Hours



Psalm 8

July 1997
Psalm 8

A hymn of wonder and praise, Psalm 8 celebrates the God who is revealed in the realities of creation. The author describes God as a majestic king who fashions the universe in a struggle against the powers of chaos (v.1-2). Then, contemplating the wonders of the world set in place by God, his thoughts turn towards human beings, whose smallness is in striking contrast with the immensity that surrounds them.

At this point, the psalmist experiences a radical change of perspectives. No, these beings apparently so frail and vulnerable are in fact the cornerstone of creation. God made them to share in his kingship, so that they can help all created beings to live in harmony. The verb "to give dominion" (v.6) does not refer here to oppression or exploitation; it describes the calling of a king, who must ensure the rule of justice in the land and be a source of blessing for his subjects (cf. Ps 72). The vocation of human beings, the "viceroys" of creation, is thus to enable the entire universe to be a faithful reflection of God's glory. It is therefore appropriate that the Letter to the Hebrews applies this psalm to Christ (Heb 2,5-9): through the "becoming less" of his Son, God reveals and communicates his radiant Love at the heart of the world. The "subjection" of all things to the Son (cf. 1 Cor 15,20-25; Eph 1,22-23) has a single purpose: liberated from the forces of destruction, the universe is henceforth able to receive the fullness of life through him.

. . .

How do we discover God's presence in the world?

Through what lifestyle and what actions can we live out our calling to be caretakers of the created world in the image of God?

How does Christ show us the true vocation of a human being?



World Wide Web: