Monday, May 14, 2018

Psalm for Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018


Reflections




“Lord, send out your Spirit.”

“If you take away their breath, 
they perish; when you send forth 
your spirit, they are created.” 
Animated by the Spirit, the divine 
Breath, we who are His creatures 
sing of the glory of our Creator.

“When you send forth your Spirit,
you renew the face of the earth.”
God is the source of all natural life.
So also the Holy Spirit is the source 
of all supernatural life.  We are nothing 
without the divine Breath -- 
“When you take away their breath,
they perish and return to their dust.”

It is this same creative Breath 
which came down on the disciples 
in that locked room that St Luke speaks of in 
this Sunday's first reading.  (Acts 2:1-4)
The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to 
go forth and proclaim the Gospel boldly 
to men of all nations, speaking different tongues.

We too are called to be baptized in the Spirit, 
and to receive the divine Breath of the Lord. 
Having been baptized in the Spirit, we are a 
new creation, and are called to glorify the Lord 
in what we do.  In this way, as the Psalm says, 
“May the Lord be glad in his works.”

Fortunately, for us too, the Spirit is manifested
in each of us for some benefit, as St Paul 
reminds us in Sunday's second reading.
(1 Corinthians 12:7)
All we have to do is accept Christ and believe
in Him.  Then we too will have the gift of life. 

Without the breath of God, we are nothing.  
Just as the Holy Spirit empowered 
the disciples at Pentecost,
so too are we empowered by our Creator.  
The presence of the Holy Spirit within us 
is how we share in the divinity of Christ.  

Without the breath of the Holy Spirit, 
we have no spiritual life.
But thanks to God's gift, 
we are a new creation,
and we are baptized into Christ.  
And that alone gives us reason to praise God.
As our psalmist says, 
“Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the Lord.”


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our Psalm reminds us that we are dependent on the Lord for our 
very breath.   

Tell about what makes you aware of the 'divine Breath' in your life.

2.  Our Sunday Psalm Response is, 'Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the 
face 

of the earth.'   Is the Holy Spirit doing a work in you?   Are you a 'new creation?'
Speak about your baptism in the Holy Spirit.




Monday, May 7, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, May 13, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-7, 8-9   (Read)

"God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy."


This Sunday we celebrate the 
Ascension of our Lord, who was 
taken up to heaven to be seated 
at the right hand of the Father, 
far above every principality, with 

authority over every nation.  
(Ephesians 1:21)

With such an awesome God on 

his throne, what hope do we have 
as mere human beings that we will 
ever be able to approach Him?
How far above us can this Jesus be,
if He is taken up to heaven and has 

all things put beneath his feet?

The words of a popular song say, 

“Our God is an awesome God, He reigns 
with power and love.”
Power is often associated with arrogance
and brutal treatment, but our God uses his 

power to work miracles, and bring about 

healing.  And his power is expressed by 
his love, by which we are raised up with 
Jesus.

Fortunately for us humans, Jesus has a plan 

for us – we can feel his power and presence 
within us, so long as we repent from our sins 
and believe in Him.  He is risen, and is seated 
at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
Knowing this, we shout with joy, and we praise 

Him.   He leaves with us a way to share 
in his divinity, through the Holy Spirit which He 
sends to us.  That same promise Jesus made 
to his disciples is available to us – the promise 
of the Father, the gift of the holy Spirit.  (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus' Ascension, the disciples begin
their active ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit.
That same power is given to us so long as we believe;

we too are called to ministry.  And for that we are 
inspired to praise the Lord.  As the psalmist says, 
“Clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, 
sing praise to God!”


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Over and over our psalmist calls for us to shout to God and 
sing praise to God, 

as God mounts his throne.  Tell of how you personally praise the Lord with 'cries of gladness.'

2.   The verses of our psalm for this Ascension Sunday place our 
Lord in his kingship 
and on his throne, and make it seem that God is so far above us that we may not be able to approach Him easily.  How do you handle this apparent dilemma?  How do you approach our  Lord?



Monday, April 30, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, May 6, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4   (Read)

“The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.” 



“Break into song, sing praise.”
The Lord makes all thing new, and 

we are a new creation, the work of 
His hands.  And so it is right that 
we sing a 'new song' to the Lord, 
who has done marvelous 
things for us.

“The Lord has made His salvation 

known; in the sight of the nations 
He has revealed his justice.”
For us this can be about Jesus' 
victory over death and sin, so that 
we might live.

And how is salvation obtained?
How is the victory won?
It is won by God's Holy arm,
His son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Victory is obtainable for us too,
if we keep the faith, give thanks to God, 

and praise Him.

Our Psalm exclaims,
“All the ends of the earth have seen the 

salvation of our God.”
This verse, and Sunday's 1st reading,
confirm that the gift of the Holy Spirit
is for us Gentiles too. (Acts 10:44-45)
For we are called to be baptized
in the name of Christ.

And as Jesus says in today's Gospel,
“It was not you who chose me,
but I who chose you.” (John 15:16)
We too are appointed by Him
to go forth and bear fruit,
to remain in the love of the Lord,
and to do His will.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.   Our Psalm Response is, "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power."  How has the Lord shown his saving power to you personally?

2.   Our Psalm speaks of singing a new song, of singing joyfully to the Lord,
and we are urged to break into song and sing praise.   What is it about your faith and the Easter season that makes you want to sing praise to the Lord?




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, April 29, 2018

Reflections

Psalm 22: 26-27, 28, 30, 31-32  (Read)                                                                                                                                                        
“Let the coming generation be told of the Lord.”














The verses of this Sunday's Psalm are uplifting 
and speak of the promise of salvation --
“The lowly shall eat their fill,” 
(We who are poor in spirit are to live
life abundantly) and,
“May your hearts live forever!”
(We can count on the Lord for salvation.)  

And praying these verses we recall that 
the suffering of the righteous man
has brought about something good 
in our human world.
“All the ends of the earth 
will worship and turn to the Lord.”
“The generations to come
will proclaim to a people yet unborn 
the deliverance you have brought.”
Our hope returns, and we join with 
all the families of nations in giving 
thanks to God, who rules the world 
and dispenses justice.

Jesus says in today's Gospel,  “You can only 
bear fruit if you remain in me.” (John 15:4)
And how do we remain in Him?
The psalm says, “I will fulfill my vows 
before those who fear the LORD.”
(We are to keep His commandments.)

Finally, our psalmist commits that his 
descendants will serve the Lord,
“The generation to come will be told of 
the Lord.”  Here we are inspired by Sunday's 
first reading where Barnabas reports that Saul
spoke out boldly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:27)
What better way for us to bear fruit, than to speak 
out boldly for our faith, to our children and 
grandchildren!

“To him my soul shall live.”
The Psalm ends with a reversal of 
the righteous man's condition;
life is restored and the whole world
celebrates his deliverance.
What better Easter message is there than that?
And what more inspiring words for the early
Church as it reaches out to proclaim
the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the Lord."
Does this verse inspire you to confirm your faith boldly and take up God's praise
in the company of your fellow believers?   Discuss.

2.  The Psalm ends with an uplifting call for us to proclaim the Lord's truth to the next generation.  Describe how you have answered the Lord's call and how you are telling others about God's love.



Monday, April 16, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, April 22, 2018

Reflections




"Take refuge in the Lord."

















This Sunday's Psalm is an Easter song. 
The psalmist speaks of our Savior, our 
cornerstone.  Our Savior is Jesus, and 
though He appeared weak and beaten 
on the cross, He became victorious over 
death.  The psalmist speaks of that same 
irony, “The stone rejected by the builders 
has become the cornerstone.” 

The Psalm tells us we are to, “Take refuge in 
the Lord.”  Though mortals may disappoint us, 
the Lord will not leave us discouraged.
Better to take refuge in the Lord than to put 
one's trust in princes.  Little children know 
instinctively whom to trust -- they know where 
the love is coming from.  And we are the same; 
as children of God, we put our trust in the Lord.   
He is the Good Shepherd.  
Where else would we turn?

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of 
the LORD.”  It is none other than the Good 
Shepherd who comes in the name of the Lord,
to care and protect us sheep.  (See also today's 
Gospel, John 10:11-18).
Our calling is only to listen for His voice and 
to follow Him.  Who else knows us as He does, 
or is willing to lay down his life for us?

The psalm recalls for us the paschal mystery 
of Christ, who is crucified, resurrected,
and then exalted as the capstone of our faith.
God has shown his love for his people -- 
Jesus’ risen presence among us
is living proof of God’s enduring love.
Our psalmist confirms this, “God’s love 
endures forever.”
The Lord’s deliverance is cause for joy.
God’s love is empowering, as the psalm 
suggests, this is how we pass from death to life.

We may not have been one of those who 
saw Christ after He rose from the dead, 
but He is no less real to us.   There is no doubt 
that God's divine intervention 
was at work in Christ’s resurrection.  
As the psalmist says, we know,
“By the Lord has this been done, 
it is wonderful in our eyes.”


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection
  

1.  Our psalmist reminds us more than once to trust God, not mortals or princes.   

Even though you may not have seen the Lord in person, do you have any difficulty 
trusting in one you have not seen?   Explain.

2.  The Psalm says, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'   This verse 

is used in scripture to welcome Jesus.   Discuss how you have welcomed Jesus 
into your life.



Monday, April 9, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, April 15, 2018


Reflections




“The Lord does wonders for his faithful one.”


















This Sunday's Psalm is about trust in God.
Our psalmist, David, is filled with desire 
for God's mercy, and invites us to pray, 
“When I call, answer me;
O my just God, hear my prayer.”
David reminds us the Lord works wonders 
for the faithful,
“The Lord does wonders for his faithful one.”

Part of keeping our faith must surely be 
keeping our Lord’s commandments, 
as we are reminded to do in this Sunday's 
second reading,
“Whoever keeps his word, the love of God 
is truly perfected in him.” (1 John 2:5)
What more could we ask for?
Is it necessary that the risen Jesus 
show us his hands and feet,
or that we touch his flesh and bones 
as in Sunday's Gospel?  (Luke 24:39-40)

Our psalmist reminds us it is inside our hearts
where the Lord’s presence does the most good.
“You put gladness into my heart.”
If our hearts are made clean, and our sins 
are forgiven by the Easter sacrifice and 
Resurrection of God’s only Son, 
who or what can stand in our way?

What the Lord Jesus has done for us 
will give rise to action on our part.
For just as the disciples were witnesses
of what came to pass more than 2000 years ago, 
so too are we called to witness for the Lord.
We are called to keep his word, 
and to open our minds, so that we too can
better understand the scriptures. 
We ask the Lord, “Let your face shine on us.”
And then we must go about doing his work!

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this week is, "Lord, let your face shine on us." 
What does it mean to you the have the 'light of His countenance' shine 

upon you?

2.  Our psalmist repeatedly petitions the Lord to answer him and 

to hear him.   Have you also prayed as David did for the Lord to hear 
your prayer?   What has been the result?