With the reform of the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, the Psalms now have a more prominent place in the cycle of readings. Every day, we have a psalm during the readings at Mass. Because the congregation participates in the singing or chanting of the Psalm by repeating a selected phrase, we call this a ‘response’ – hence, the ‘Responsorial Psalm’.
The Psalms can be recited or sung; they can be sung in plainchant or with musical instrument accompaniment.
King David composed many of the Psalms, and there are 150 in all. They express various themes, emotions, and needs of the human creature with respect to his Creator and fellow human beings.
It is remarkable that even though these Psalms were composed thousands of years ago, we see that human nature has not changed during the course of time. The creature hungers for his Creator, repents of his sins, longs for protection and the goodness of the Lord.