The Works of His Hands

Scripture Reading

O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?

You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.

All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

(Psalm 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9)


Scripture Study

Man … a son of man: the emphasis is on the fragility and mortality of human beings to whom God has given great dignity.

Little less than a god: Hebrew ‘elohim, the ordinary word for “God” or “the gods” or members of the heavenly court. The Greek version translated ‘elohim by “angel, messenger”; several ancient and modern versions so translate. The meaning seems to be that God created human beings almost at the level of the beings in the heavenly world. Heb 2:9, translating “for a little while,” finds the eminent fulfillment of this verse in Jesus Christ, who was humbled before being glorified, cf. also 1 Cor 15:27 where St. Paul applies to Christ the closing words of Ps 8:7.[1]

Scripture Reflection

It is the humble who acknowledge God as the psalmist does today. The humble expresses a sense of wonder at the fact that God, the creator of the universe, should have focused on man and taken special care of him, and given him dominion over all things by allowing him to share in his authority. We are made “in the image and likeness of God” (cf. Gen 1:26–27) and it is this appreciation of the greatness of man leads on to contemplation of the infinitely greater grandeur of God.

St Bernard closes our reflection with his thoughts on the magnificence of God: “Lord, what is man that you should grant him such importance, that you should take such an interest in him? You go so far as to send your only-begotten Son to him; you infuse him with your Spirit; you even promise him the sight of your face. And so that none of the celestial beings may fail to play their part in your loving concern, you send the blessed spirits, the angels, to serve and help us, making them our guardians; you appoint them our guides” (Sermones de tempore, 3).

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



[1]  Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 733.