INTROITUS: Baptism of the Lord

Dilexisti iustitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis.

“You love justice, and you hate inequity, hence God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy in the presence of your companions.” (Ps 45(44):8)

While iustitiam (“justice”) spectacularly reaches the highest note of the entire chant – it is repeated at odisti (“you hate”), but just in a quick transition – the opposite noun iniquitatem (“inequity”) attracts little attention. The chant does not evoke the bad, but rather shouts out the good.

God is with all those who do good. That is what we might keep in mind from this introit. This feast day is not about magic rituals or divine arbitrariness. It is a message for those who want to follow Jesus: Love justice, be good, just like the God who gives you the power of goodness (cf. Ti 2:11–14 from the New Testament Reading).

We are thankful to ConBrio, publisher of the Graduale Novum, for granting us permission to use scans from the book for our INTROITUS-series.

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  1. Psalm 45 is a royal psalm, which seems fitting for a feast of the Lord. The verses that follow this antiphon are utilized for Assumption, and while they seem to be aligned for Mary, the overall psalm is thought to be a composition for a royal wedding. Verse 8 could be interpreted as a bachelor party, or most likely, as the commencement of a new role for the anointed, one with companions (disciples).

    I don’t want to bad-mouth the rest of Psalm 45, but it seems a tribute to the physical and social characteristics of a bride and groom. If one wants to emphasize the bond between Christ and the Church, perhaps that is okay. Maybe I’d consider another royal psalm as a link with previous Christmas liturgies–96-97-98. In a Church desperately in need of baptismal/evangelical renewal, I’d prefer verses of an entrance text that inspire people to adopt the “love of justice” and to see their role as baptized along with Jesus, and prepared to advance his mission. If I were forward-looking to the weeks ahead, I might consider a passage like 2 Cor 5:14-20. It’s not a lyric text like the Suffering Servant Song of year A’s first reading, but it suggests “the old is gone, the new is here” (NIV) that moves us toward the new effort that will be needed in the days ahead.

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