Monday, January 14, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, January 20, 2019

 
Reflections 

Psalm 96:  1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10   (Read)

“Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all
the nations!”

Today's psalm is a song of Israel, the
chosen people, brought back from exile. 
Their joy and praise is understandable.  
The prophet Isaiah says that God calls
them, “His Delight, His Espoused.”
(Isaiah 62:4) 
No wonder they want to “Sing to the
Lord a new song,” and tell of God’s
glory and His marvelous deeds.

We are all summoned to adoration of
our sovereign God.  We are called to
give Him 'glory and praise,' as our
psalmist says.   And we are called
to bring gifts as we enter His courts.

But no matter how precious our own
offerings may be, they are no match
for the gifts of the Spirit that each of us
receives, and which St Paul speaks
about in this Sunday's second reading. 
Each of us receives these spiritual gifts
individually, and they are given through
the Spirit to us for 'some benefit.'  
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

In this Sunday's Gospel our Lord Jesus
uses His marvelous gifts to turn water
into wine at the wedding in Cana and so
reveals His glory. (John 2:1-11)
Even today the Lord provides real food
and real drink for us, in the Eucharist. 
What better nourishment could there be
in our lives?  As the psalm says, we are
called to be grateful and, “Give to the Lord
the glory due His name,” to bow down
to the Lord, and to tremble before Him.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist encourages us to, 'Sing to the Lord a new song."
What is it about your faith that makes you want to sing praise to the Lord?

2.  The Psalm urges us to, 'Proclaim His marvelous deeds to all the nations.' 
How will you go about proclaiming the Gospel to those around you in your family 
and your community?

  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, January 13, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 29:  1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10   (Read)

“The God of glory thunders.”

The Psalm is about the splendor and the 

power of God.  “Give to the Lord the glory 
due God’s name.  Bow down before the 
Lord’s holy splendor.”  The Psalm speaks 
of the voice of the Lord “thundering” over 
the waters.   “The voice of the Lord is 
power; the voice of the Lord is splendor.”

God's awesome voice was heard over the 

Jordan River that day when the heavens 
were torn open and the Holy Spirit descended 
upon Jesus just as He was being baptized.  

What could be more powerful than the voice 
of God declaring, “This is my beloved Son, 
with whom I am well pleased.” (Gospel, Luke 3:22)

What happened at the Jordan River that day 

was to fulfill what God said to the prophet Isaiah – 
“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen 
one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have 
put my spirit.”  (Isaiah 42:1)

The baptism of our Lord may have happened 

over 2000 years ago, but on that day God 
anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, 
the power to serve the faithful (people like us), 
and to do battle on our behalf with the 
devil. (Acts 10:38)

From that time forward we too became eligible 

to serve the Lord as His chosen ones.   Isaiah 
tells us what our spiritual mission is to be:  
like Jesus, we are to be a light to the nations, 
and open the eyes of the blind (those who do 
not know the Lord).  (Isaiah 42:6-7)
And imitating Jesus, we are to bring out 

prisoners from confinement (those who may 
be imprisoned by sin).  What better way 
would there be for us to serve the Lord?

Amen



 Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of the power and splendor of the voice 

of the Lord, thundering over the waters.   Have you heard God's powerful 
voice speaking to you, anointing you as one of His chosen ones?  Explain.

2.  Our psalmist encourages us to give God the glory due His holy name.  

Tell of how you give God the glory in your activities and your everyday life.



Monday, December 31, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 6, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13   (Read)


“All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.” 















Our psalmist  speaks about a perfect king –
a king who judges like God, governs his people 
with justice, and his afflicted ones with right
judgment.  But where is such a king  to be found?  

Not likely among the kings of Israel.

The psalm speaks of a king that is to live as long 

as the sun endures, like the moon through all 
generations.  So there is a mystery about him –
“He rules from sea to sea, from the River to the 

ends of the earth.”

The verses of the psalm recall for us the Epiphany – 

“The Kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; 
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.”
(See also this Sunday's Gospel, The Visit of the Magi,

Matthew 2:1-12)

The more we read the Psalm, the more it tells us 

about the Messiah to come – “May all kings bow 
before him, all nations serve him.” We see the light, 
just as the prophet Isaiah said we would.  (Isaiah 60: 1-3)

The mystery is revealed to us, poor in spirit though 

we are:  “He rescues the poor when they cry out, 
the afflicted who have no one to help.”  This is what 
our Good Shepherd, Jesus, is sent to do, to shepherd 
God’s people.   This is why we join the magi in paying
homage to our newborn King and join with our psalmist
in singing, "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist describes a powerful king who will rule from sea to sea.  

Yet this king stoops to rescue the afflicted and has pity on the lowly and 
the poor.   In what way do these verses speak to you about our Lord and Savior?

2.  The psalm mentions that all the kings of the civilized world shall offer gifts 

to this newly endowed king.   Are you also inspired to bring tribute to our
newborn Savior, and what sort of gift will you offer? 




Monday, December 24, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, December 30, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 128:  1-2, 3, 4-5   (Read)

“Blessed are those who fear 
the Lord and walk in His ways.”

Our psalmist tells us that a man 

who has a right relationship with 
the Lord will also obtain a right 
relationship with his wife and his 
family.  If we have a right 
relationship with the Lord, 
we will know how to treat our 
wives and our children, and 
in turn, we will discover how 
blessed we are in our home and 
by the presence of our family.  
“Just so will the man be 
blessed who fears the Lord.”

And if a man walks with the Lord, this 

will be reflected in the way he loves his 
wife.  Because if a man cherishes his 
wife, as ‘flesh of his flesh’ and ‘bone of 
his bones,’ he nourishes his relationship 
with her, as Christ nourishes the Church.  
And the man’s reward is that his wife will 
be like a ‘fruitful vine’ within his house.  
This is how a man is blessed who fears 
the Lord.

Having been so favored by God,  we understand
why, 'A man shall leave his father and mother and 

cleave to his wife.'   God made them one flesh, and, 
'What God has joined, no human being may separate.'

If we fear the Lord and walk in His ways, we will receive

the blessings of our labor, prosper in a material way, and 
grow old gracefully in the company of our family.

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm tells us how to gain God's favor so that our family life 

will be blessed.  What does it mean to you to fear the Lord and walk 
in His ways?

2.  We learn from our psalmist how to behave toward our wife and our 

children.  A right relationship with our family is obtained by having a right 
relationship with our Lord.  Explain how you are putting this teaching 
into practice.



Monday, December 17, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, December 23, 2018


Reflections

 
Psalm 80:   2-3, 15-16, 18-19   (Read)

“Lord, make us turn to you, and we shall be saved.”


 


The Psalm is a prayer to restore
Israel, and by extension to restore us,
as a scattered people of God.
The Psalm is well adapted to our
prayer during Advent.  We are a people
scattered and separated from God, and
we await His coming.  He alone can
'make us turn to Him' and convert us.
“Shepherd of Israel, lend an ear;
come to save us.”

Our psalmist makes a direct appeal
to God to shepherd us.   “Turn again
Lord, attend to this vine.”  Just as
the Lord tends to His vineyard, He
protects a shoot planted by His right
hand.  The coming of Christ is intended
to revive us, restore our strength.  
As the Psalm says, “Then we will not
withdraw from you; give us new life, and
we will call upon your name.”

Where does our hope for revival
come from?  It comes from our Savior,
our cornerstone, sent by the Lord.
In Him we are restored.   “Lord of
hosts restore us; let your face shine
upon us, that we may be saved.”

We all need to be renewed from
time to time when our faith grows
lukewarm, when our hearts harden
due to the sins that separate us from
God.   We, like the Israelites,  need
to beg for God’s mercy, to petition
the Lord and seek his peace, the peace
that will  guard our hearts and minds,
and restore us as his people.

Amen


 
Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  The Psalm says, 'Lord, make us turn to you.'  Have you noticed 

at times when we stray off His path how the Lord tugs at each of us 
so that we return to His ways.  Give an example from your own experience.

2.  Our psalmist is writing about the scattered people of Israel, 

but his words may apply to each of us when we feel separated from God. 
In what way are you inspired by the Psalm's verses to repent and seek renewal? 




Monday, December 10, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, December 16, 2018


Reflections

Isaiah 12:  2-3, 4, 5-6   (Read)

“With joy you will draw water from 
the fountains of salvation.”

This is a Song of Thanksgiving, from the
prophet Isaiah, expressed in the language 

of the Psalms.  But the prophet is also 
speaking about salvation -- “God indeed 
is my salvation.”  Later Isaiah says, 
“With joy you will draw water from the 
fountains of salvation.”

These verses speak to us of our Savior and 

are in keeping with the theme of this Sunday's 
first reading, “The Lord your God is a mighty 
savior.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

And having been promised salvation, we are to

“Rejoice in the Lord always,” as St Paul tells us 
in Sunday's second Reading. (Philippians 4:4)

And what effect does the promise of salvation
have on us?  We draw strength from our saving

relationship with God – Isaiah says it for us,
“I am confident and unafraid.”  (Remember, God’s 

perfect love drives out fear.)  Isaiah gives us further 
evidence, “My strength and my courage is the Lord.”

And where does the power come from that is the 

source of our courage?   It comes from our baptism,
first with water, then from our baptism in the Holy 
Spirit.  This is the good news that John preached
when he promised that the Christ would baptize us 

with the Holy Spirit. (Gospel, Luke 3:16)


And as Isaiah reminds us, during this season of Advent 

we are to sing praise to the Lord -- “Let the good news 
be known throughout all the earth!”  We are to “Shout 
with exultation, for great in our midst, is the Holy One 
of Israel!”

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Response this Sunday is, 'Cry out with joy and gladness:
for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.'   Describe how
you prepare to receive Jesus inside your heart during this season
of Advent.

2.  Isaiah says, 'My strength and my courage is the Lord.'   Explain
what this verse means to you, especially at this time of the year.




Monday, December 3, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, December 9, 2018


Reflections


Psalm 126:  1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6   (Read)

“The Lord has done great things for us.”
 
This Sunday's Psalm speaks about the 
joyous return of Israel from exile and 
captivity.  “The Lord has restored the 
captives of  Zion.”  As we hear in 
Sunday's 1st reading (Baruch 5:1)
Jerusalem is to take off her robe of 
misery and to put on the splendor of 
God forever.  Truly, “The Lord has 
done great things for them.”

But there is more -- as the Psalm says,

the Lord has done great things for us 
as well.  What could be more wonderful
than what Christ does for us, in leading
us out of our spiritual captivity in a sinful
world, to a place of splendor where the
Father dwells.  We are restored by the
Lord’s grace, and our spiritual dryness
is filled with the baptismal waters, like
the dry stream beds of the Negeb.

But we must do our part – the 'sowing
of tears' is a time of repentance for us.
It is just as John the Baptist proclaims
in the Gospel – we must be baptized in
repentance, for the forgiveness of our sins.
(Luke 3:3)

And what is the sign of true repentance?
It is when one produces good fruit by
what we sow.   As the Psalm says,
“Those who go forth weeping, carrying
sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy,
carrying their bundled sheaves.”

Finally the Psalm reminds us that the
truly great thing the Lord has done for us
is to send His only begotten Son to be by
our side.  Jesus’ presence is a guarantee
of a spiritual harvest that leads to our
own salvation.

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist reminds us, 'We are filled with joy,' because the Lord 

has done great things for us!   Tell of  how these verses speak to you 
during this Advent season of the arrival of our incarnate Lord.

2.  The Psalm says, 'Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.'  
Describe how repentance has led to salvation in your spiritual life.