The title of this psalm states that it was used “at the dedication of the temple.” This statement seems to be a later insertion which intervenes awkwardly between “A psalm” and “Of David.” Therefore, it is unlikely that the dedication in question was that of the Davidic temple. The Talmud relates that Ps 30 was used at the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. It is also possible that the psalm was used at the dedication of the second temple in the sixth century B.C. after the return from the Babylonian exile. Most likely the psalm was originally a prayer of thanksgiving by an individual after being released from a serious sickness (verse 2). However, when the nation prepared for the dedication of their place of worship, they turned to this psalm of thanks to give voice to their prayer.
The choice was appropriate. The temple was the center of Jewish worship. The highest form of worship is praise for what God has done for us. Continually within this psalm God is praised for the movement from evil to good. Sickness changes to health (verse 2); death to life (verse 3); anger to favor (verse 5); mourning to dancing and sackcloth to joy (verse 11).
The foundation of all prayer is not what we need but what God has done. This makes thanksgiving the highest form of worship. Whether we are dedicating temple or examining our own life, grateful praise applies. Catholics recognize the Eucharist as the center of their worship. There should be no surprise, then, when we realize that the meaning of Eucharist in Greek is “thanksgiving.”
Reflection: For what am I thankful in my life? How often do the reasons for my thankfulness lead me to praise?
Prayer: Faithful Lord, all good gifts come from you. Never let me take for granted what you have given me. Never allow me to remain silent when I realize my blessings.