Monday, February 19, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 25, 2018


"Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death 
of His faithful ones."

The verses of this Sunday's Psalm are words 
Abraham might have prayed when he was 
called on to sacrifice his son Isaac.
“I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving; 
I will pay my vows to the Lord.”  
Who else could have kept the faith at a time 
like that?   Yet Abraham’s devotion to the Lord 
did not waver.  (Genesis 22:10-12)
We may not be called upon to offer up 
so heavy a sacrifice, but we are commanded 
to listen to God’s son, and to imitate Him.

Abraham may have used words like those 

of our psalmist, “I believed even when I said, 
‘I am greatly afflicted.'”  
God relented and provided a substitute 
for Isaac,  “Too costly in the eyes of the Lord 
is the death of His faithful ones.”

But God did not spare His own son, 

as St Paul reminds us in Sunday's 2nd reading. 
(Romans 8:32)
And for whom did God sacrifice His son Jesus?  
It was for us that God handed over His 
beloved Son.  Jesus’ death on the cross has 
given us life; as people of faith we are chosen 
by God for life.  We pray that we are not put 
to the test as Abraham was, but we might 
at least, as the Psalm says, 
“Pay our vows to the Lord in the presence 
of all His people.”

The psalmist says, “O Lord, I am your servant; 

you have loosed my bonds.”   We too are made free 
by becoming the Lord's servant.  That is how it is when 
we follow His commandments and do His will.  
It is not something that binds us.  Rather, it is something 
that sets us free.
We take delight in serving the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks of the power of his faith, even in the darkest of times,
"I believed, even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.'"   Give an example of
 how your faith has strengthened you in difficult times.

2.  The Psalm says, 'O Lord, I am your servant; you have loosed my bonds.'
Explain how it is that, having been freed from your chains, you wish to serve
the Lord and become yoked to Him.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 18, 2018


“Good and upright is the Lord, 
He shows sinners the way.”

This Sunday's Psalm is 
a prayer for forgiveness 
and guidance, a good 
way to begin the season 
of Lent.  Our psalmist 
David recalls the covenant 
the Lord made with Noah 
(Genesis 9: 8-15)and David 
writes, “Remember your 
compassion and love, 
O Lord, for they are ages old.”

Later in the psalm David affirms, 
“Good and upright is the Lord, 
thus He shows sinners the way.”  
Who else could lead us out of the pit 
of our sins but God’s Son, the righteous 
one who suffered for us, the unrighteous 
ones, as St Peter reminds us in this 
Sunday's second reading. 
(1 Peter 3:18-22)  
Peter says Baptism doesn’t remove 
the dirt from our bodies; it doesn’t 
remove our sinful nature.  But it does 
allow us to receive the Holy Spirit 
within us, because without the Spirit, 
we are powerless against the devil.

We are blessed to have a God who 
does not disregard us.  On the contrary, 
He is a caring, compassionate God, 
willing to humble himself to share in 
our humanity, so that we might come 
to share in His divinity.  Who else 
would have such regard for sinners, 
for believers who disobey him?  
It is He who encourages us when our 
tongues confess – “The Lord guides the 
humble rightly, and teaches the humble 
His way.”

In this Sunday's Gospel, our Lord Jesus 
tells us what we are to do as we prepare 
for the most important season of the year,  
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”  (Mark 1:15)
And in response we join with our psalmist 
and say, “You are God my Savior.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection  

1.  Our Psalm speaks of being taught by the Lord ("Teach me your paths; guide me 

in your truth and teach me; He teaches the humble His way.")   Are you a good student of the Lord?  Tell about what you have learned or are learning from the Lord.

2.  Our psalmist says, "The Lord shows sinners the way."  As we enter the season 

of Lent, we could all use some guidance and help as we strive for repentance and 
to be bolder in our faith.  Explain what you will do during Lent to become a more 
obedient Christian and a better witness for your faith.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 11, 2018


Psalm 32:  1-2, 5, 11   (Read)

“I confess my faults to the Lord.”

This Sunday's Psalm is one of David’s 
penitential psalms.  David sings out about 
the heaviness of his sin that weighs upon him 
so long as he keeps silent.  The Psalmist’s sins 
were hidden in his heart.  Then, when he declares 
his sin, and confesses his faults, his burden 
is lifted and his guilt is taken away.

David’s sins may not have been so obvious 
as the sores on the lepers described in this 
Sunday's lst reading.  (Leviticus 13:1-2)
But like those same lepers, David is compelled 
to cry out, “Unclean, unclean,” and to seek 
God’s forgiveness in order to be healed.  
Just as David throws himself on the mercy 
of the Lord, so does the leper in today's Gospel, 
who kneels before Jesus and moves the 
Lord to pity.  (Mark 1:40-41)

The leper in the Gospel shouts for joy after he 
is made clean.  The same thing can happen to us 
when we receive the Sacrament of Confession 
and we are made clean inside.  We may not be joyful 
for the same reasons as the leper, but as Jesus says, 
it is what's inside our hearts that needs to be purified.
And having been cleansed from within, 
we really have something to be joyful about.

We are all pitiful in the sight of Christ, 
but once on our knees, having confessed and repented 
of our sins, there is hope for us whose sins are forgiven. 
As it says in the Psalm,  “Blessed is he whose fault 
is taken away, whose sin is covered.”

We all need a spiritual cleansing from time to time
if we are to obtain a pure heart.  They say confession 
is good for the soul, and from what the Psalm tells us,
confessing our faults will lead us to be glad 
in the Lord and rejoice.  


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  This Sunday's Psalm Response is, "I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, 

and you fill me with the joy of salvation."  Tell of a 'time of trouble' in your life 
when you turned to the Lord, confessed your faults, and were filled with 
the 'joy of salvation.'

2.  Our psalmist is grateful for God's gift of forgiveness; having confessed his sin 

before God, he is a new creation thanks to the grace of God.  Give an example 
of how your anxiety over your sin ceases when you bow down and confess 
your faults to the Lord.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 4, 2018


Psalm 147: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6   (Read)

“Praise the Lord, who heals 
the brokenhearted.”                                                                 


The Psalm says that the Lord “rebuilds Jerusalem” 
and “heals the brokenhearted, binds up our wounds.”

There is comfort in these words for all of us.  The Psalm 
points to the healing power of Jesus, our Lord and Savior,
which is depicted in this week’s Gospel.  (Mark 1:29-39)

We too can be rebuilt from the inside out by the promise 

of our Lord's salvation.  It is surely by the grace of God
that we are made well.  It is God's grace that drives the 

demons out of us; there is no room in our hearts for both 
the Holy Spirit and the demons.  And we obtain God's grace
from the sacraments, which empower us to be well physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.

There is even hope for someone beaten down like Job,
whom we hear about in Sunday's 1st reading. (Job 7:1-4, 6-7)
Like Job we may be poor in spirit, but it is at our moment 

of greatest weakness that the Lord will call us by name –
“He numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.”

Having put our trust in the Lord, He will sustain us, 

“The Lord sustains the lowly.”  Once we realize that the Lord 
takes care of the lowly (for we are His sheep), we can not help
but praise God, preach the Gospel, and boast in our faith as 
does St Paul. (1 Corinthians 9:16-18, 23)
Our Psalmist says it well – “How good to sing praise to God;
how pleasant to give fitting praise.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is, 'Praise the Lord, who heals 

the brokenhearted.'  Explain how the verses of the Psalm give you hope 
that the Lord will 'bind up your wounds.'

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord 'calls each of the stars by name.'
Does this verse give you comfort that our Creator also knows your name
and seeks you out despite the infinite size of the universe? What does this
verse mean to you?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 28, 2018


“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Today's Psalm is about obeying and worshiping 
God.  We are urged to bow down in worship before 
our God, whose sheep we are (remember we are His 
well-tended flock).  We are instructed to be alert for 
His voice and to be receptive to His teachings 
(we need to be good listeners).

We are not to harden our hearts or test the Lord 
(as the Israelites did at Meribah).
We are to humble ourselves and open our hearts 
to the Lord; having done so we are set free.
Then we are no longer constrained by the 
things of this world, and we can be open to His love 
and His teachings.  

Moses prophesied that the Lord would speak to us 
through one of our own kind (Deuteronomy 18:18).
So we had better listen to God’s son, Jesus, who 
became one of us so that we could be more like Him.
His works should be sufficient to convince us of His
saving power and grace.

St Paul tells us we need to be free from anxiety and 
distractions (1 Corinthians 7:32).  This is not an easy 
thing to do when we are caught up in the things of the 
world.  We would all benefit from an authoritative 
cleansing of our hearts, and a removal of unclean 
forces that distract us from praising the Lord.  
Then we can make room for Jesus to fill our hearts 
and remain in us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts if we hear God's voice.   
Do you find it difficult sometimes to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe He is speaking to you?   Give an example.

2.  The psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd.  
Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among His flock?  If so, what does it 
mean to you to be shepherded by the Lord?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 21, 2018


“Good and upright is the Lord, 
who shows sinners the way.” 

We are blessed to have a God 
who does not disregard us.
On the contrary, He is a caring, 
compassionate God, 
willing to humble Himself 
to share in our humanity, 
so that we might share in His
divinity.  Who else would have 
such regard for sinners, for believers 
who disobey Him?  All we have to do 
is trust Him, and He will lead us back to the 
right path --
“Make known to me your ways, Lord; 
teach me your paths.”

Our psalmist David humbly
offers up his sins to God his savior,
and waits for God’s guidance. 
“The Lord guides the humble rightly, 
and teaches the humble
His way.”

In Sunday's Gospel the early disciples 
leave their nets and their families behind 
when Jesus calls out to them.  (Mark 1:16-20)
Jesus had a plan for His disciples,
when He singled them out to serve Him. 
God had a plan for Jonah as well;
His mission was to warn the people 
of Nineveh to repent and turn to the Lord.  
(Jonah 3: 1-5)

St Paul in Sunday's second reading 
has a similar message for all of us, 
that time is running out and any day now 
would be an acceptable day for us
to focus on our own salvation.  
(1 Corinthians 7: 29-31)
The Lord is there to guide us,
as He was in the days of David,
our psalmist.

Whether it's through a Jonah 
in our midst or a Saint Paul,
the message of the Lord is clear –
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
We may not be able to do this on our own,
but as our psalmist says,  
“The Lord shows sinners the way.”

The Lord is talking to all of us here; 
we are all sinners.
We are all able to benefit 
from the healing power of Jesus.
And where does the power come from 
to turn away from sin?  
It comes from the Lord;   
It is He who encourages us when 
our tongues confess, 
“Remember no more the sins of my youth; 
remember me only in light of your love.” 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist petitions the Lord, 'Teach me your ways.'  

How do you go about learning the ways of the Lord?  Tell how 
the verses of the Psalm help you understand the ways of the Lord.

2.  Our Psalm says the Lord 'shows sinners the way.'  Give an example 

of how you have been guided by the Lord to turn away from sin and repent.