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.



Monday, May 28, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, June 3, 2018


Reflections


“I will take the cup of salvation 
and call on the name of the Lord.”

This saving cup
is the same cup that 
we  share each time 
we participate 
in the Liturgy of 
the Eucharist.
It is the cup of 
the blood that 
Jesus shed 
to mark the 
new covenant 
with people of faith.

We  are saved by Christ; 
He is the divine victim.
Our psalmist asks,
“How can I repay the Lord 
for all the good He has done 
for me?”

The Psalm affirms, “Precious 
in the eyes of the Lord 
is the death of his faithful ones.”
What could be more costly 
than the death of God’s only son?
Yet God consented to the death 
of his Son because of his love 
for us;
God did not spare Him.
Once again we ask,
“How can I repay the Lord 
for all the good He has done 
for me?”

Certainly we are all obliged 
to pay our vows to the Lord,
to give Him praise, 
to obey his commandments,
and to do his will.  As the Psalm says,
“My vows to the Lord I will pay 
in the presence of all his people.” 

We are to praise Him and worship Him 
in the presence of the community.   
It is not just between us and God.    
We are part of a community, and
we are to acknowledge Him 
and bow down to Him publicly.   
And we are to proclaim the Gospel!

Our psalmist says, “O Lord, I am 
your servant, you have loosed 
my bonds.”
We are made free 
by becoming the Lord's servant.
That is how it is when 
we follow his commandments
and do his will.
It is not something that binds us.
Rather, it is something 
that sets us free.
We take delight 
in serving the Lord.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmists asks, "How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me?"  Explain how you would answer this question.

2.  When you "take the cup of salvation," do you receive our Lord's saving power? Say how you respond when you eat His body and drink His blood.



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, May 27, 2018


Reflections

Psalm 33:  4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22   (Read)

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him."













We have been chosen by God to be his people.  
God is all powerful, “By the word of the Lord the
heavens were made.  For He spoke, and it came 
to be.”

This Sunday's 1st reading reminds us we are 

to keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 4:40)
And we do this because we hold Him in awe.

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 bread.

“Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and 

our shield.”  It is said that even people who have 
no faith have a longing in their hearts for God.
There is something missing in their lives.
For us who are believers, we are dependent on 

the Lord.  We openly seek his help and his 
protection.  He is our shield in the spiritual battle 
that we all have to fight.

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 hearts are starved 
for God's presence, when our bones are dry,
He nourishes us and breathes life into our dry 

bones.  “Lord we have put our hope in you.”

“Our soul waits for the Lord.”  We are delivered 

from death, kept alive in times of spiritual famine.
We can expect to receive his grace.  And for this, 

we praise the Lord.  As the psalmist says,
we know He will fill the earth with kindness
and that his kindness will be upon us.

“We have put our hope in the Lord.”  

Jesus, in turn, puts his hope in us,
commanding us to go out and make disciples 

of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
As God's children we must be obedient
and carry out his commission.

We have been given to Jesus so that we may 

proclaim the good news of salvation.
In this way we carry out the Lord’s works
and celebrate what the Psalm says,
“The Lord loves justice and right.”

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this week is, 'Blessed the people the Lord 

has chosen to be his own.'  Do you believe that you have been chosen 
by God to be one of His children?   Explain.

2.  Our psalmist speaks of preserving us in spite of 'famine.'  Have you 

gone through periods of spiritual hunger?   How has your faith enabled you 
to regain your strength and obtain nourishment?




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.