Total Pageviews


The Second Sunday after Christmas

Augustine on Psalm CX
Christmas 2 Home

ALMIGHTY God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word; Grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Isaiah lxi. 1, Psalms LXXXV, LXXXVII | XC, XCI   &  St. Matthew ii. 19 

Make Thy right hand so well known 

Psalm 90

Today we examine Augustine's treatment of Psalm 90. This Psalm had a title indicating it was of Moses, but Augustine rightly points out that it was not written by Moses, but merely reminded the editors of some attributes of Moses.  Augustine weaves together the Old Testament and the New Testament as he considers the role of Moses as the lawgiver and prophet of our Lord.  This is a fairly lengthy sermon; I'd like to focus today on the 12th verse and Augustine's insights; he wrote:

 "Make Thy right hand so well known"  This is the reading of most of the Greek copies: not of some in Latin, which is thus, "Make Thy right hand well known to me." What is, "Thy right hand," but Thy Christ, of whom it is said, And to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed?  Make Him so well known, that Thy faithful may learn in Him to ask and to hope for those things rather of Thee as rewards of their faith, which do not appear in the Old Testament, but are revealed in the New: that they may not imagine that the happiness derived from earthly and temporal blessings is to be highly esteemed, desired, or loved, and thus their feet slip,  when they see it in men who honour Thee not: that their steps may not give way, while they know not how to number Thine anger. Finally, in accordance with this prayer of the Man that is His, He has made His Christ so well known as to show by His sufferings that not these rewards which seem so highly prized in the Old Testament, where they are shadows of things to come, but things eternal, are to be desired. The right hand of God may also be understood in this sense, as that by which He will separate His saints from the wicked: because that hand becomes well known, when it scourgeth every son whom He receiveth, and suffers him not, in greater anger, to prosper in his sins, but in His mercy scourgeth him with the left, that He may place him purified on His right hand. The reading of most copies, "make Thy right hand well known to me," may be referred either to Christ, or to eternal happiness: for God has not a right hand in bodily shape, as He has not that anger which is aroused into violent passion. 

The meaning of "Right Hand" and "Right Arm" in scripture and in ancient language is of militant action and authority, as the right hand wields the sword and executes the will of the sovereign. The allusion of Christ as the right hand of God points to his role in the Trinity as the actor when God wills.  It was Christ Militant  through whom all things were made. It was Christ Militant who led the people out of Egypt as a flame. It was Christ Militant who was at Jericho standing outside of the gate with sword. It was Christ Militant with the Holy Ghost who went forth from the tent of Abram and destroyed the Sodomites in fire and brimstone. It was Christ Militant who was Lord to David and  led him through the valley of the shadow of death. It is Christ Militant who came into the world and destroyed death for his sheep. It is Christ Militant who sits at the RIGHT HAND of GOD, and it shall be Christ Militant who comes again in power and might to judge the earth and to finally crush the head of Satan, put all things under his feet, and offer them to God the Father.  The elect know Christ, for God has called them as his sheep and has revealed to them his Son; they know his voice and follow him as the Body of Christ, the action arm of God here on earth, the Church Militant. 

Augustine wrote elsewhere: "By the expression 'right hand,' understand the power which this Man, chosen of God received, that He might come to judge, who before had come to bejudged."

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


No comments: