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The Psalms were songs of King David and all the people of Israel. Look them up in your Bible. You will see instructions on how to sing and use them. Because they are so old we’ve lost the tunes so we have written our own. However, they still express the deep emotions of the human heart.

Today the psalm response has been restored to a place of special importance. Normally it is sung and the whole assembly participates by singing the response. Very frequently the psalm has a textual or spiritual relationship to one of the readings. At times psalms traditional to certain seasons e.g. Psalms 118 and 66 for Easter (look these up) are used. To facilitate the singing of the Psalms, the lectionary (book of readings) also appoints a number of common psalms and refrains which may be used throughout the different liturgical seasons.


The Responsorial Psalm, the only psalm used in the Mass for its own sake and not to accompany any action is primarily the assembly’s response to the lesson,  which has just been proclaimed. The community uses God’s word as a response to God’s word. To a certain extent the psalm stimulates reflection upon God’s saving deeds and thus somewhat serves as a prolongation of the reading.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What part does the assembly play in the psalm response?

Scripture:   Mark 14:26