Monday, August 21, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, August 27, 2017


Reflections 

Psalm 138: 1-2, 2-3, 6, 8   (Read)

“Lord, do not forsake the work of your hands.”

Our psalmist David composed this prayer of a 
grateful heart. “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, 
with all my heart.”

David is grateful because his petitions are 
answered by the Lord. “For you have heard the 
words of my mouth.”  The Lord's answers to
our psalmist's prayers have come at a critical
time, a time when David is seeking to build up 
his strength.

David speaks of a divine rescue -- “When I 
cried out, you answered; you strengthened 
my spirit.”  Perhaps we’re all in need of a 
spiritual rescue of the type David describes.

And it isn’t because of any of the psalmist’s virtues
that he obtains salvation. It is a result of God’s loving
fidelity. “Lord, your love is eternal.” Our God does not 
forsake the work of His hands, though as St Paul says
in Sunday's 2nd reading, “Who has given the Lord 
anything that he may be repaid?” (Rom 11:35) 

Unworthy as we are, and though the Lord is exalted,
He watches over us in our lowly state.  And thanks
be to God, His kindness endures forever.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks of a divine rescue when he was in great need of the 

Lord's Providence.  Give an example of when you have cried out to the Lord 
and He has answered your cry.

2.  The Psalm's verses deal with an age old mystery--the Lord is exalted, 

yet the lowly He sees.   How do you reconcile the apparent contradiction between 
God's heavenly dwelling and His concern for us lowly humans?


 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, August 20, 2017


Reflections 


"So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation."

 
No wonder the Gentiles (people like us)
were attracted to the faith when St Paul
and Barnabas were traveling through
the towns, visiting the early churches,
and ministering to the Gentiles.  
The apostles were doing as Jesus did 
when He encountered the Canaanite 
woman in the region of Tyre and Sidon  
(Gospel, Mt 15:21-28).
Though she was not a member of the 
house of Israel, Jesus recognized how 
great was her faith, and the woman's 
daughter was healed from that hour.

By ministering to the Gentiles the way 
of the Lord became known upon earth 
among all the nations, as the Psalm says.  
Indeed the Psalm predicts that God’s 
saving power shall be known among all 
the peoples.  Thankfully, that includes us.

So much that God does for us is sung
in the Psalm's verses, which pray,
"May God have pity on us and bless us;
may He let his face shine upon us."

 God gives us His grace through His son Jesus,
   who is our Savior.
 
God gives us material blessings –
    all our treasure and gifts are from Him.
 
He gives us spiritual blessings  –
    we know these as fruits of the spirit.

Today we join with the members of the early church 
in praising God – “May the peoples praise you, God; 
may all the peoples praise you."

Amen


 
Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm petitions God to 'Let His face shine upon us.'  In what way 
do you believe that God has let His face shine upon you?

2.  Our psalmist calls for God's salvation to be known among all the nations.  
How are you evangelizing to those who do not know His saving grace?



Monday, August 7, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, August 13, 2017


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.  For as Elijah discovers 
in Sunday’s 1st reading, God is not 
in the wind, nor the earthquake,
nor the fire. Rather, God appears 
to Elijah as a tiny whispering sound.  
(1 Kings 19)
We too must listen attentively for 
the voice of the Lord and be careful 
not to miss His presence among us.

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.
His Word convicts us,
pointing the way to salvation.
As our psalmist says,
“Near indeed is His salvation
for those who fear Him.”

Our psalmist prepares the way of the Lord --
“Truth shall spring out of the earth,”
(when the Messiah is born).
The goodness and blessings
that the psalmist speaks about
are fulfilled in Christ.
For our Savior is truly,
“Glory dwelling in our land.”

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist affirms that he will hear what God proclaims.  Tell of how you listen 
for the voice of the Lord and what He is saying to you.

2.  The Psalm proclaims that truth shall spring out of the earth and there will be 'glory 
dwelling in our land.'   Speak of how our Lord appears before you and how He is 
present to you.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, August 6, 2017


Reflections

Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9  (Read)

 
"The Lord is king."

Psalm 97 celebrates the glory 

of the Lord; the earth rejoices
and all peoples see His glory.   

The Psalm's verses recall for 
us this Sunday's Feast of the 
Transfiguration when we see 
the glory of God shining on 
the face of our Savior Jesus 
Christ.
 

God is present in the bright 
cloud which surrounds Jesus,
and the voice of God declares,

"This is my beloved Son."
We join with our psalmist and 

shout, "The Lord is king,"
and like the disciples in Sunday's 

Gospel, we fall prostrate and are 
in awe of this divine vision before us.  
(Matthew 17:1-9)

Oh that we would be completely open 

to the will of the Father, as Christ was,
on that high mountain when He was
transfigured, and His face shone like 

the sun.

We may not be called to ascend a high 

mountain to converse with Moses and 
Elijah, but we too can be transfigured 
by the face of God shining upon us.  
We may not receive a vision like Daniel  
(Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14), but we too can 
be transformed by God's surging stream 
of fire that purifies and causes the mountains 
to melt like wax.

We may not need to be there in person when 

Jesus appears in glory and the Father affirms 
the divinity of the Son.  Wherever we are, Christ 
is manifested to us children of light, who have 
put off the works of darkness and put on the 
armor of light. 

St Paul says that we all, with unveiled face, 

beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed
into his likeness. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
This is a daunting prospect for us, as it was 

for Christ's disciples.  But we can rely on the 
prayer of the Psalm which tells us, "Light dawns 
for the just and gladness for the honest of heart;
God protects the souls of the faithful; the fire 

of the Lord goes before him, consuming his 
foes on every side."

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  The Psalm speaks of an awesome day when clouds and darkness surround 

our God and fire goes before Him.   Despite this awesome vision tell of how you 
are transformed into a child of light when you encounter God.

2.  Having encountered God and been transformed, we are called to follow Christ, 

take up our cross, and carry out God's will in our lives.  Speak of what God has 
commissioned you to do for Him.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, July 30, 2017


Reflections


"Lord, I love your commands."

Our psalmist is in prayer,
expressing his love for the Lord's commands,
and promising to keep His words.

We may not have the wisdom of Solomon,
but we have enough discernment to recognize 
how powerful the Lord's decrees can be in our
spiritual lives. Just as the law of the Lord
is precious to our psalmist, so too is the law
of the Lord central to our lives and to our faith.

Our psalmist says that the Lord's decrees are
wonderful, and therefore he observes them.
We may not always think of the law as wonderful
(some people may consider it restrictive),
but if we learn to do His will,
we find that we are liberated,
set free from the sin that drags us down. 
We choose life instead of death.

Doing God's will (keeping his commandments)
isn't easy, but having received His grace, 
and having been granted discernment
to know right from wrong, good from evil,
we can follow Him with conviction. 
Our 'yes' will mean 'yes' to the Lord,
and our 'no' will mean
'no' to the devil and his minions.

Having decided to do His will,
we take delight in keeping His statutes;
they are like honey to us.
And the blessings we receive
are part of what God has prepared
for those who love Him.

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  Our psalmist says he observes the Lord's commandments because they are wonderful 

and they shed light.   Explain why you are committed to follow the Lord's decrees.

2.  The Psalm assures us that we go forward if we follow God's precepts, and in so doing 
we avoid every false way.  Speak of  how God's commandments protect you on your 
journey of faith and draw you closer to God.
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, July 23, 2017


Reflections


“Turn toward me, and have pity on me,
give your strength to your servant.”

We pray, as does our psalmist David,
for the Lord to attend to the 'sound of
our pleading.' We take refuge in the same
heavenly Father that Christ did. Even
when we are far away, the Lord has pity
on us. Even though we forget Him, He
does not forget us. He searches our hearts;
He gathers us into His mansion
at the end of the age.

He empowers us to fight a good fight.
God saves us from our enemies, and also
from ourselves. All we have to do is
open our hearts to Him and do His will
by striving to be saved. For God gives
His children good ground for hope, and
He permits repentance for their sins.
(Wisdom 12:19, 1st reading)

Our Psalmist never stops asking,
and He is rightly sure,
that God could never stop giving.
God could scarcely resist our prayers.
Even though we do not know how to pray
as we ought, as St Paul says, the Holy Spirit
Himself intercedes with inexpressible
groanings.  (Romans 8:26, 2nd reading)

The Lord is present to us;
He listens; He pardons; He saves.
God's goodness overwhelms us.
Even nonbelievers will come to worship
God and glorify His name.

Amen
  
Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  Our psalmist is overwhelmed with the goodness of our
merciful Lord.   
Give an example of how God has attended to the sound of your pleading 
and done a wondrous deed in your life.

2.  The Psalm is a prayer that God will strengthen and
empower His servant.  
Speak of how the Lord has empowered you to do His will.

  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reflections

Psalm 65: 10, 11, 12-13, 14  (Read)


“The Lord has visited the land 
and watered it; greatly has He 
enriched it.” 
  
Water is so critical for a place 
like the Holy Land, as it is here 
in the arid climate of Southern 
California. Without water we 
could not produce any fruit.
We are blessed that “God's 
watercourses are filled;”
and He provides us with an 
abundant harvest.

We also depend upon the Lord 
to supply us with what Jesus called 
the ‘living water’ that satisfies our 
spiritual thirst. Jesus is the Word 
that drenches us, adorns our year 
with plenty.  How else could we 
bear fruit?  With his showers He 
softens the land, blessing its young 
sprouts (that is us). We are like untilled 
meadows without his word and his grace.
How else could we expect our pastures 
to be blanketed with grain?

The Lord prepares the earth;
He adorns our paths with fruitful rain.
The hills are robed in joy.
God’s Word is showered down upon us,
and does not return to God void;
we do his will;
we are his witnesses;
we keep the faith.

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks about the Lord having visited the land and watered it.   
Tell of how the Lord has drenched you with His living water that yields a fruitful 
harvest.

2.  The Psalm assures us that the Lord breaks up the clods of the land and 
softens it with showers.  Give an example of how God's Word has softened 
you up spiritually and led you to do His will.