Blessed Are Those Who Follow the LORD

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
(Psalm 128:1-5)

Scripture Study

128:1. “Fearing the Lord” is really the same thing as keeping his commandments (cf. Ps 1:1). “For us, fear of the Lord is a part of love; and its expression is the practice of perfect charity: obey the counsels of God, hold fast to his commandments, trust in his promises” (St Hilary of Poitiers, Tractatus super Psalmos, 127, 1–3).

128:2–4. The beatitude promised here is a happy family life, with enough to live on (v. 2) and peace between parents and children (v. 3). The phrase “who fears the Lord” helps to make vv. 1–4 a unit; in practice, as we said, fearing the Lord means keeping his precepts, which is the way to happiness.

128:5–6. The divine blessing will keep the nation safe and give the individual a long life.

Scripture Reflection

God’s blessing is the enhancement of life that brings it to fulfillment. That understanding is apparent in the way this psalm speaks of the two basic areas of human life. Mortals work, but it is the blessing of God that brings work to completion and makes the labor satisfying. Mortals marry, but the birth and growth of children is the blessing of God.

By putting the formulas for the beatitude and the blessing in parallel, the psalm assumes that whatever makes life good is the effect of blessing. Without blessing, life is incomplete and frustrated. There is a concurrence between the way life is lived and the way life is enhanced. Well-doing and doing well are interdependent. Walking in the ways of the LORD is a receptivity to the blessing of the LORD. The spirit of pilgrimage always incorporates walking in the ways of the LORD.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.