A Reflection on Psalm 31

A Reflection on Psalm 31

According to Luke 23:46, Jesus’s last words were “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” This prayer is from verse 6 of Psalm 31.

The whole psalm could be used for a meditation on Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross. With the psalmist, Jesus could plead, “Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress;/ with grief my eyes are wasted,/ my soul and body spent./ My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing.”

With the psalmist, Jesus also expresses his confidence in God, not only in verse 6, but also throughout the psalm. God is his “rock of refuge,” “a stronghold,” “a fortress.” “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,/ saves those whose spirit is crushed.”

Especially in difficult times, we, as individuals and as Church, can make this psalm our own. In fact, the Church prays part of this psalm at night prayer on Wednesday. It is at such time we not only go to rest, but also might think of death.

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About the Author

Hilarion Kistner, O.F.M., after ordination in 1955, did further studies in Scripture. He taught Scripture to seminarians for 15 years. He has been editor of Sunday Homily Helps for more than 25 years.