Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, July 22, 2018

Reflections

Psalm 23:  1-3, 3-4, 5, 6   (Read)

“The Lord is my shepherd.”


We are like sheep, and we look 
to the Good Shepherd to lead us 
beside still waters, and guide us 
along the right paths.  We fear 
no harm, because the Good 
Shepherd is at our side.  
Where else should we turn?

Our Lord restores us when we are 

down, protects us with his rod and 
his staff when we are threatened.  
We lack nothing when we trust in 
the Lord.  We fear nothing, even 
when our lives are at a low point 
spiritually or physically.

Our eyes are opened by our trust in the Lord;
we are led out of the dark valley of sin where 

we did fruitless things in secret.  Like our psalmist 
King David, we are anointed with oil by the Lord,
and we make a covenant with Him.

Our trust in the Lord is rewarded.  He sends His Son 

to save us, and His Spirit to live within us.  Surely 
goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life.

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The promise that King David speaks of in his final days 

is what Jesus died for.  Jesus reconciles us with the 
Father, and when Jesus is raised up, we too are resurrected.

Having been rescued by our Savior, and now counted 

among His obedient sheep, we are ready to do His will.
We are groomed to enter the Kingdom and to sit at the 

table that God sets for us.  If we believe in Him, we too 
shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.   Our Psalm speaks of the Lord as our Shepherd. Do you believe 

you are one of His sheep?  What does it mean to be counted among His flock?

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord anoints his head with oil.  Are you one of 

the Lord's anointed?   Describe how the Lord is using you as one of His anointed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, July 15, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 85:  9-10, 11-12, 13-14   (Read)

.
"I will hear what God proclaims, glory dwelling in our land.”

 

 












Our psalmist knows the importance of
listening carefully for the voice of the Lord.  We too
must listen attentively for the voice of the Lord and
be careful not to miss his presence among us. 
“I will listen for what God, the Lord, has to say.”

How do we seek Him out?  Where do we find the Lord?
We find Him when we read and study His Word,
His living Word, as fresh now as it was thousands
of years ago.   For His Word is as penetrating as
a two edged sword, able to separate bone from marrow;
convicting us; pointing the way to salvation; and providing
us with an instruction manual for life.  (Hebrews 4:12 )
All we have to do is follow it.

As our psalmist cries out, “Near indeed is his salvation
to those who fear Him.”  For us Christians the Psalm is
more than a cry.  It is a promise of salvation --
the psalmist prepares the way of the Lord.

The psalmist promises that the Lord himself will give us
his benefits.  And what should we expect?
Nothing less than the coming of the Messiah himself.
That’s what happens when “Kindness and truth shall meet;”
when “Justice and peace shall kiss;”  when “Truth shall
spring from the earth,” (when the Messiah is born).

The goodness and blessings that the psalmist speaks of
are fulfilled in Christ.  Where else would we turn
to receive real spiritual abundance?

For our Savior is truly “Glory dwelling in our land.”

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist speaks of, 'Glory dwelling in our land,' and says that
the Lord's salvation is 'near indeed' to those who fear him.   These verses
suggest that our Savior is close at hand and accessible to all of us who
fear Him.  Describe how our Savior is present to you.

2.  The Psalm says, 'The Lord himself will give His benefits.'  Tell of the
benefits you are receiving from the Lord.



Psalm for Sunday, July 8, 2018


Reflections



http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070818.cfmPsalm 123: 1-2, 2, 3-4   (Read)

“Our eyes are fixed on the Lord.”
 


We are called to serve God and to do  
His will, as Jesus did.  And so our eyes  
must be on God, that we may know His 
will for us, and that we may serve Him 
and our neighbor as well.

Where else would we turn?
To be measured by men?
To get direction from anyone else?
Like the prophet Ezekiel, our success is 

measured by doing God’s will and
following His direction in our
lives. (Ezekiel 2: 2-5)
Our psalmist says, “We have our fill of contempt;
we have our fill of insult from the proud.”
For it is the arrogant ones who rely only on

themselves, giving little thought to God.

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was not 

respected in his home town; he was rejected
by his townspeople and neighbors. (Mark 6: 4-5)

Is that what we face from family or friends,
when we do the Lord’s work or proclaim his 

Gospel?  If so, then we are united with Christ,
and like St Paul, we can be content with insults,
hardships, persecutions and constraints.
The Lord's grace is sufficient for
us.  (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)



Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist calls for us to fix our eyes on the Lord. 
Describe how you focus on the Lord in your faith journey.
Tell how you are able to discern God's will for your life.

2.   Our psalmist says he is fed up, having been the object 

of contempt and mockery from the arrogant ones around him.
Even Jesus was mocked in his native village.  Tell of how you 

deal with insult and persecution when you proclaim the Gospel.



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, July 1, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 30: 2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13    (Read) 


"I praise you Lord, for you raise me up;
you kept me from going down into the pit.”

God is in the business of healing, as our 
first reading says. (Wisdom 1:13)
God did not make death, nor does He rejoice
in the destruction of the living.
“His divine favor lasts a lifetime.”
 
Just as Jairus' daughter is saved from death
in this Sunday's Gospel (Mark 5:41-42), 
we too are able to be saved from going down 

into the pit.  We too are eligible for a spiritual 
resurrection if our faith is strong.

We may be rebuked by God for disobeying Him.
We are, after all, his wayward children,
and He loves us as a Father loves his own.
God's compassion and mercy are with us not 

only in this life, but in eternity.  “Divine anger lasts
but a moment; divine favor lasts a lifetime.”

Our Lord Jesus himself was raised up from the pit

by the Father, even though Jesus bore the weight 
of our sins.  God’s anger over the sins of all men
that Christ took upon himself, lasted but a moment.

The joy of resurrection comes to us at dawn, after a

terrible night, as it came to those early followers of
our Savior.  “At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  And that alone is reason 

enough to change our “mourning into dancing,”
“to clothe us with gladness.”   We are prompted
to “sing endless praise to the Lord.”
“O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist praises God for having rescued him and brought 

him 'up from the netherworld.'   Tell about how you have been saved 
from your enemies, the devil and his companions.

2.  The Psalm says that the anger of the Lord lasts but a moment.   

Have you been rebuked by the Lord? If so, what did you learn from this, 
and in what way are you grateful for being corrected by the Lord?




Monday, June 18, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, June 24, 2018


Reflections


"Truly you have formed my inmost being."

Our psalmist David tells us
that there is no way to hide 
from God, who is all knowing,
and who is present to us always.

David says later in the Psalm,
“Where can I hide from your 
spirit?  From your presence, 
where can I flee?”
There really is no need for us
to run away from the Lord.
His presence within us draws us 
closer to Him.  There is no reason 
for anxiety just because He knows 
all our inner secrets
(“With all my ways you are familiar.”)

In fact his presence is merely to confirm
that we have a share in His divinity,
After all, God is the one
“Who knit us in our mother's womb.”
He is our Creator, so why would we run from Him? 
On the contrary, we are drawn to Him,
and we are led by Him along right paths.

“Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.”
When we hear these words,
we are reminded that John the Baptist
leaps in his mother's womb
when Mary visits Elizabeth.
John heralds the coming of Christ
even while he remains in the depths
of his mother’s womb.
Surely John the Baptist was
wonderfully made and so much of what
our psalmist says seems fit to apply to John.

As for us, truly the Lord is familiar
with all our ways; he knows our soul full well,
and he knows our frame as well.
Just as the hand of God was with John
from the moment of his conception,
so the Lord has a plan for each of us as well.

We are wonderfully made because the Lord
wouldn't have it any other way.
He equips us to do his work;
to be a light to our families and our communities;
to preach the Gospel and 'when necessary use words.'

We may not all be headed for a sojourn
in the desert, but the Lord knows
when we sit and when we stand;
He scrutinizes our journeys,
and He has made us for a purpose.

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  Our Psalm response is, "I praise you, for I am wonderfully made."  Do you believe 

that you are created by God to do His will, that you are made for a purpose?  Explain.

2.  Our psalmist says, "O Lord, you have probed me, you know me."  We cannot hide 

anything from our God; He is familiar with all our ways.  Are you convicted by these 
words?  Are there sins you commit that you would prefer to keep in the dark, or on a side porch, away from God's knowledge?  In what way are you grateful for the scrutiny of the Lord?




Monday, June 11, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, June 17, 2018


Reflections (by J Kim)


Psalm 92: 2-3, 13-14, 15-16   (Read)


"Lord, it is good to give thanks to you."

  
Displaying an attitude of gratitude.  Sending 
thank-you note.  Saying your "please 
and thank you’s.”   Such are lessons we 
teach our children as we train them in 
what is socially proper.  If only we would 
spend as much time considering what is 
proper in the spiritual sense.

God our Creator is all-deserving and worthy 

of our praise.  A well-known prayer guide 
pinpoints five essential elements of prayer.  
Adoration, Confession, Petition, and 
Intercession, are ALWAYS followed by 
Thanksgiving.  Psalm 92:1 is often quoted 
in support:  "It is good to give thanks to the 
Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High."

Also to be noted is the use of the word "sing" in that first verse.
The Lord loves to hear our voices in song.  Thus, hymns of any 

sort are an integral part of worship.  Something about singing 
focuses our hearts on Jesus and softens his heart to accept 
our prayerful pleas.

Our Abba Father gives us our days in 24 hour increments.
Could we handle any more?  His grace is enough for each day;
the psalmist writes, "It is good to proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night."

The cedar of Lebanon is a mighty and beautiful tree referenced
throughout Scripture.  In this Sunday's first reading, a small cedar 

shoot is replanted and compared to a "majestic cedar" as it grows 
strong with its roots  firmly planted. (Ezekiel 17:22-23)  The Psalm 
says, “The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of 
Lebanon shall he grow."

Later, the psalmist writes, "They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be."  Living in a righteous manner, 

with the foundations of our beliefs firmly rooted, we too are called
to have the strength and fruitfulness of the cedar, even unto the
very end of our earthly lives.  


Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  "Lord, you are holy indeed.  It is right to give you thanks and praise."
These are familiar words to any Mass-goer.   How do you sincerely give thanks
to the Lord in your daily life?

2.  How can you become more like the upright palm tree or the majestic and 

firmly-rooted Lebanese cedar?  Do others see you as a just and righteous person
through your everyday speech and actions?  What can you change about 

yourself so that you, too, can "bear fruit even in old age?"    



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, June 10, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 130: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8   (Read)


"With the Lord, there is mercy and
fullness of redemption."


The psalmist calls to the Lord from 
“out of the depths” of his sin that 
has brought him near to death.  
He asks the Lord, “Hear my cry 
for mercy.”  He waits with longing
for the Lord, knowing that God 
forgives, and redeems us, 
even when we abandon Him.  
“My soul looks for the Lord 
more than sentinels for daybreak.”

There is no way we can please God, 

so long as we remain in the flesh.  
But God forgives us, gives us 'life in the spirit' 
and saves us from death (remember 'the wages of sin is death.')  
What greater act of forgiveness could there be than the sacrifice 
of the Son of God for our sins?  “But with you there is 
forgiveness, that you may be revered.”

We too await our redemption with hope, knowing that even

if we are dead in our sins, the Lord will revive us.  We too 
cry out to the Lord for forgiveness –  “Lord, may your ears
be attentive  to my cry for mercy.”

Redemption is a promise made to us, just as the Lord 

promised the Israelites that he would open their graves and 
put his Spirit within them, so they would live.

That same Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and will 

give life to our mortal bodies too.  This is that  
“full redemption” the psalmist talks about.

And so we too have come to believe and revere our Lord, 

as did the early believers.

Truly, 'Our God is an awesome God.'

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist sings about the promise of forgiveness that is 
available to us 
if we trust in the Lord.   Speak about how you are seeking out God's mercy.

2.  The Psalm talks about 'plenteous redemption,' or the 'fullness of redemption.'   

Tell what this means to you.