Monday, September 16, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, September 22, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 113:  1-2, 4-6, 7-8   (Read)

 “He raises up the lowly from the dust.”

This Psalm teaches us once again 
that our God, who is at once exalted above all men, is willing to stoop low 
and to raise us up to His own level.   
God reverses common wisdom, 
and we who are called His servants 
are lifted up out of the dung heap 
of life and treated as royalty in His kingdom. 

“Who is like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned
on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth
below.”   It is God's nature to seek out the lowly
and the afflicted ones of this world, and who is to say
that we are not all afflicted?

Christ Jesus shows an amazing ability to bring up
to His level the outcast of society – the poor, the
lowly, the barren.  Often criticized for eating and
drinking with sinners, our Savior shows us how
to behave toward our neighbors, to understand
the it is the sick who need a physician.

Jesus' behavior is in sharp contrast to the conduct
of the merchants described in Sunday's first reading
(Amos 8: 4-7).   They have undisguised contempt for 
the poor whom they are exploiting.   But Jesus 
reminds us that the poor have a divine and powerful 
advocate.   The compassion of our Lord reaches 
down to those whom the powerful of the earth regard 
as nothing.  Jesus devotes his spiritual wealth and 
loving attention not to those who can give something 
in return, but to those whom the world disregards.   

With such a loving God in our midst, we are inspired
to become like Him, and to join with our psalmist and
sing praise to our God, and praise his name.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection 

1.  Our Psalm reminds us that the Lord on high reaches down to our human level to lift us up.   How can it be that our God, who is exalted above all nations, is willing to stoop to our lowly level and show concern for us?

2.  What does it mean when our psalmist says that God raises up the lowly from the dust and seats them with princes?



Monday, September 9, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, September 15, 2019


Reflections
 
Psalm 51:  3-4, 12-13, 17, 19   (Read)

“A clean heart create for me, O God.”
 
We are shown in the Psalm that although 

David was chosen by God to be king, 
even David sins gravely.  David is sincerely 
sorry for having committed adultery and 
murder, two grievous sinful acts which 
separated him from our loving Father.  
He pleads with the Lord, 
"Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness;
in your abundant compassion blot out my 
offense."  
We are reminded here that no sin is too big 
for God to forgive.   
 

Just as Moses trusted God to relent in His wrath against 
the Israelites (Exodus 32:11), we too trust in the Lord to be 
far more forgiving than we ourselves are capable of.  
And when we do fall into deep patterns of sin, we must 
realize that our wrongdoing ultimately, is a rebellion 
against the Lord himself.  David’s sins, like our own, 
are offensive to God first and foremost –
we are all born of a sinful nature.
 

David prays words of repentance that recall for us the 
power of the Sacrament of Confession. “A clean heart 
create for me, O God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.”  
The Lord is the source of cleanliness and purity of heart.  
 

God wants to have a close relationship with us, but 
unconfessed sin will always get in the way. We must
confess our sins openly and sincerely. Where else 
can we turn when we are separated from God?  Who else 
has the healing power to cleanse us?  David reminds us 
that without the Holy Spirit we are ruled by the desires of 
this world.  “Do not drive me from your presence, nor take 
from me your Holy Spirit.”
 

We can almost hear David’s loud cries and see his tears, 
as he offers this prayerful psalm and seeks his own 
inner renewal.  And just as David is profoundly grateful 
for God's compassion, so too St Paul acknowledges 
God's mercy in this Sunday's 2nd reading (1 Timothy 1:13).
 

When we receive the Sacrament of Confession, we also 
are given an opportunity to be restored in the joy of His 
Salvation, to offer up what is dead within us, so that like 
the prodigal son in the Gospel we can return to the Father 
and again be good witnesses for the Lord.  “I will rise and 
go to my father.” (Luke 15:18)
 

Once we have regained a solid foundation with God the Father, 
no strong assault from satan will overcome us.  We can have that 
very same "steadfastness of spirit" that David asks for and 
receives from the Lord.  
 

Amen   


Discussion Questions for Reflection
 
1.  Our Psalm is King David's mea culpa, his personal confession to God.   

Speak of how the verses of the Psalm inspire you to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
 
2.  Our psalmist pleas with the Lord not to take from him God's Holy Spirit.  

Tell of how you also rely on the Spirit in your daily life.



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, September 8, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 90: 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17  (Read)

“You turn man back to dust.”
 

Our Psalmist describes us humans
as miserable creatures, whose lives are
dismally brief.   We are like the “changing
grass, which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.”
What hope is there for us humans
whose lives are cut short in our sleep?
Our sinful nature incurs the righteous
anger of the Lord.  “The corruptible body
burdens the soul.” (Wisdom 9:15)
What are we to do?

 

We are to take refuge in the Lord,
as the Psalm says.  We are to pray that
we may gain wisdom of heart, as our
Psalmist says.   We are to ask for God's
favor in our lives.  We are to humble
ourselves and to learn to fill our limited
days by doing the Lord's will in our lives.
However fleeting our lives, we pray that God
will “prosper the work of our hands,” that
we will know the will of God and act upon it.

 

We are to pray through the dark night that
God will fill us at daybreak with his kindness,
for this will be the day of our salvation.
We are to have a right relationship with
the Lord, believe in His Son, who took upon
Himself our weak human form, so that
we would know what it means to bear our
cross as He did for us.  Christ took on the
earthen shelter of human flesh in order to
show us how to let go of it.

 

It is no accident that older believers are
counted among those who attend daily Mass.
For as they approach the end of their brief lives
on earth, their days more and more are filled
with the hope of being part of God's kingdom forever.
All of us look forward to the day when we may
sing for joy in God's presence and be filled with
the love of the Lord.   As the Psalm says, “May the
gracious care of the Lord our God be ours forever.”

 

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection 

1.  The Psalm speaks of 'numbering our days aright.'  What are you doing 
to make your days on earth count for something in the eyes of the Lord?
  
2.  Our Psalm carries a strong message that our human lives are fleeting 
but that God is eternal.  How are you preparing to be in God's presence 
forever?



Monday, August 26, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, September 1, 2019


Reflections                                              

Psalm 68:  4-5, 6-7, 10-11   (Read)
 

 “God, in your goodness, you
have made a home for the poor.”

Our psalmist sings a tribute to our
sovereign God, who makes a home
for the poor in spirit.   Though we may
be forsaken, or neglected, or alone with
no one to care for us, our God prepares
a home for us.   It is as Jesus tells us,
“In my Father’s house there are many
dwelling places.  If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going
to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

Being poor in spirit implies that one is humble,
and does not exalt himself.    In our Gospel this
Sunday, our Savior reminds the Pharisee within us
that the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

And in this Sunday's first reading from Sirach, 

we are told to conduct our affairs with humility, 
“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, 
and you will find favor with God.”  (Sirach 3:18)

Our psalmist assures us sinners too that God
will lead us out of whatever sinful habit is holding
us captive.  “He leads forth the prisoners to prosperity.”
Like the 'bountiful rain' showered down upon us,
God restores us and provides for our needs.

For all that God does for us, as the Psalm says, 

we are to “Sing to God, chant praise to His name!”

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  Our psalmist speaks of a 'bountiful rain' from the Lord, showering 

down upon us.  Tell of how you have been restored by God's living 
water when you were parched and thirsty for His presence.

2.  The Psalm says that God 'leads forth prisoners to prosperity.'   

Have you been set free from sinful habits or worldly attachments 
by the Lord's healing hand?   Explain.




Monday, August 19, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, August 25, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 117:  1, 2   (Read)


“Praise the Lord all you nations;
glorify Him all you peoples!”

 

This Sunday we sing this brief Psalm
that inspires us to rise up and praise
the God of Israel, and having done so,
to go out to all the world and tell the 

Good News.
 

Just as the prophet Isaiah proclaims 
in this Sunday's first reading, we are 
comforted that God reaches out to us 
no matter what our language, no matter 
we live in the distant coastlands, no matter 
we have never heard of God or seen His glory.  
Isaiah says it this way, “They shall proclaim 
my glory among the nations.” (Isaiah 66:19)

St Paul cites this psalm in Romans 15:11 when
he exhorts the faithful to minister to the Gentiles.
We too are called to reach out to those who are
distant from us spiritually, even though they may not
be distant physically, some of whom may even be
within our midst.

 

And what inspires us to proclaim the good news?
It is as our psalmist says, “God's love for us is strong;
His faithfulness is forever.”

 

Amen
  

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalmist is inspired by the power of God's love toward us.  

Speak of how God's love and mercy have done a work in your life.

2.  The Psalm prompts us to witness to those who may be distant 

from us spiritually.  Give an example of how you proclaim the Good News 
to those who may not know God.



Monday, August 12, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, August 18, 2019


Reflections


Psalm 40:  2, 3, 4, 18   (Read)

“Many shall look on in awe
and trust in the Lord.” 

Our psalmist waits for the Lord –
to reach out to Him.  He begs
the Lord, “Lord, come to my aid!” 


Just as Jeremiah was lifted out
of the cistern in this Sunday's 

first reading, so too was David 
drawn out of the pit of destruction.  
We are like that.
We are weak on our own;
we need the Lord’s strength to be
delivered from our sinful ways.

 
We put our trust in God.
Our God is an awesome God.
“Many shall look on in awe
and trust in the Lord.”

 
Our psalmist says, “He put a new
song into my mouth.”  For us, too,
it is no longer the same old tune.
We are in fact a new creation, joyfully
singing out the good news.

 
Where does our joyful spirit come from?
It comes from the Lord, and we are called
to share what he has given us and to do
his will, which is our delight.

 
Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our Psalm recalls for us that we place our trust in the Lord.  Speak
of how you have been lifted up and delivered by God.

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord has put a new song into his mouth.
This reminds us that we are a new creation in the Lord.  Tell 

of how you have been reborn in the Spirit.



Monday, August 5, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, August 11, 2019


Reflections


Psalm 33:  1, 12, 18-19, 20-22   (Read)


“The eyes of the Lord are upon those
who fear Him, to deliver them from death." 


The Lord's eyes are upon us because
we hold Him in awe, we praise Him.
Like a Good Shepherd He protects us
from harm; He puts up a hedge around us
and provides us with armor in our battle
against death and the evil one.  He feeds us
when we go through periods of spiritual
hunger.  He nourishes us and gives us our
daily spiritual bread.


Where else would we turn for deliverance
from death, the kind of death which is a
consequence of sin?  Remember, 'the wages
of sin is death,' and we are all afflicted.
Fortunately for us, Christ destroyed death
and brought life to us.


We would be dead in our sins without
the Lord's protection, defeated by the evil one
without the Lord's armor.  And when our heart
is starved for God's presence, when our bones
are dry, He nourishes us and breathes life into
our dry bones.


It is through His divine plan that we are saved.
Our own feeble efforts count for nothing.
We must be submissive and abandon ourselves
to His will and His grace.  Because Christ humbles
Himself for our sake, there is hope for us,
even in our time of spiritual famine.  That is the
meaning of the verse, “Lord, let your mercy
be on us, as we place our trust in you.”


Amen 



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this Sunday is, "Blessed the people
the Lord has chosen to be His own."  Speak of how you apply
this verse to your daily life.

2.  Verse 12 of the Psalm says, "Blessed is the nation whose God
is the Lord."  Tell of how important it is that our nation receive
God's blessing and His protection.