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.

 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, July 9, 2017

Reflections
 

“The Lord lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.”

We may question why God allows 
us to suffer, why he allows bad 
things to happen to good people. 
We may ask, as the early believers 
probably did,  “Why is it necessary 
to undergo such hardships
to enter the kingdom of God?”

Scripture tells us that afflictions are 
to be expected in our walk with 
the Lord.  We may not understand 
what God is up to, but we can be sure 
that our faith will be strengthened
if we stand fast in the face of suffering.
We will become better witnesses 
for Christ if we are humbled;
we become better servants
if we bear up with our difficulties
and trust in the Lord, as our psalmist tells us.

And as the Gospel says, we are raised up 
by getting 'yoked to Jesus.'  (Matthew 11:28-30)
That is how our burdens are made light,
by helping Jesus to carry His cross,
as Simon did that day on the road to Calvary.
Despite what we may think,
his 'yoke is easy and his burden light.'

Remember that endurance is a Godly quality
and will help us to get yoked to Jesus.
Having done that, we, like our psalmist David,
join with the faithful and
speak of the glory of God's reign
and bless his name.

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection
 
1.  Our psalmist assures us that the Lord will lift us up when we are falling.   
Speak of a time when you have undergone hardship and how your faith has
been strengthened.

2.  The Psalm says that the Lord is "good to all and compassionate toward all 
his works."  Tell how this verse inspires you to be more compassionate toward 
those in your life who may not always be lovable in your sight.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, July 2, 2017


Reflections


"The promises of the LORD I will sing forever."

Whatever our circumstances, 
we are encouraged to sing to 
the Lord of His goodness.
Just as Elisha promised the 
woman of Shunem, in Sunday’s
first reading, that she would bear 
a son, so does the Lord reach out
to us in unlikely circumstances.

The Lord surprises us when we are
barren; He renews us when we are spent;
He grants us a share in the life of the 
Messiah even though we are unworthy 
and sinful.

All we have to do is bear our cross and praise Him, 
sing of His promises forever, as our psalmist says. 
There may be interruptions in our joy, and there 
will be times when we will question, “How could 
the Lord allow this to happen to me?” But so long 
as we bear our cross with dignity and die to sin, 
then we are living for God in Christ Jesus, 
as St Paul reminds us. (Romans 6: 11)

Jesus says in today’s Gospel that we are not worthy
of Him if we do not take up our cross.  We must lose
our life for Christ in order to find it.  (Matthew 10: 38-39)
Despite the setbacks we face, we must endure;
for as St Paul tells us, endurance produces character
and character produces hope, which does not
disappoint. (Romans 5: 3-5)

Whatever it takes, our psalmist tells us, “Through
all generations my mouth shall proclaim your 
faithfulness.” Our job is to know the joyful shout;
to walk in the light of God’s countenance; and to
sing the goodness of the Lord forever.

Amen
 

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1. Are you able to sing of the promises of the Lord even when you have been 
disappointed or are suffering?  Explain

2. Are you one of the blessed people who walk in the light of the Lord’s 
countenance?  Speak of how His countenance is reflected in your own face.


 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, June 25, 2017


Reflections




"You who seek God, may your hearts revive!"

 
Like Jeremiah, our psalmist cries out to the Lord
and seeks relief from suffering. The psalmist bears
insult for the sake of God as a consequence of his
zeal for the Lord. 

Yet the verses are a plea to God and a remedy 
for the distress into which the psalmist has sunk. 
Crying out to God with trust in God’s great love 
is the only answer for those lowly ones who are
cast down and persecuted. Seek the Lord and
your hearts will revive! The Lord hears the cry 
of the poor.

The Gospel echoes the confidence of the psalm's 
verses. Jesus affirms that we are to proclaim the 
Gospel from the housetops and fear not our 
enemies who are powerless to kill the soul.  
(Matthew 10:27-28)

As the psalm says, even if we are in bonds the 
Lord  will not spurn us. For the Lord in his great 
love will answer us. The psalmist stands on firm 
ground though he was cast out by family and friends.
In the Gospel Jesus confirms that He is on the side 
of those who acknowledge Him as Lord.

Are we bearing insult for our God; do our brothers 
cast us out because of the our faith; have we become 
a stranger to our children because zeal for the Lord
consumes us? If so, we are in good company because
Jesus suffered the insults of those who denied him.

What is our remedy? There is only one way to turn,
as our psalmist says. Pray to the Lord, that in His 
great love He will answer us, that He will favor us, 
and that He will help us. No one else is merciful like 
the Lord; no one else has unlimited amounts of 
kindness; no one else has the power to revive us 
from the inside out. We are His own and His
own who are in bonds He spurns not. 

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Have you been spurned by family or friends because of your faith?
How do you respond?

2.  Have you born insult for the sake of the Lord?  How did you handle it?



 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, June 18, 2017


Reflections


“With the best of wheat he fills you.”

God has been a provider to His 
people ever since He created us. 
But the beauty of His providence 
is that He provides for us spiritually 
as well as physically. During the 
Liturgy of the Eucharist, as the gifts 
are being prepared, the priest says,
Through your goodness we have this 
bread to offer, which earth has given, 
it will become for us the bread of life.”

We are nourished by the Eucharist, by the body
and blood of our Lord Jesus. And that is where
our life comes from, our hope, our salvation.
All we have to do is receive Him with a clean heart
and avoid partaking of the “table of demons” (1 Cor 10: 20).

Our Lord's body is real food, and when we eat it
we are given a share in the divine life. During
the Mass the celebrant prays, “By the mystery
of this water and wine may we come to share in
the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself
to share in our humanity.”

St Paul says in this Sunday's 2nd reading
that we all “partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor 10: 17).
We share in the bread of life, and our Savior's body 
is a source of nourishment for us. This Sunday's
Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the living bread
from heaven. (John 6: 51-58)  Praise God!

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks of our Lord as being a good provider; He fills
us with the 
best of wheat.  Speak of how you are nourished by the real  food of the Eucharist.

2.  Our psalmist declares that God's word runs swiftly as the Lord sends
forth His 
command to the earth.  These verses allude to the power of God's word in our lives.   
Tell of how you receive the word of God and how it affects you.



Monday, June 5, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, June 11, 2017


Reflections


“Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy
and exalted above all forever.”
 
 













This week's Responsorial is taken from the book
of Daniel. The verses are an excerpt
from the songs of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
who have been thrown into the fiery furnace
by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
These three young Jewish men
refuse to worship the god of Nebuchadnezzar,
nor will they worship the golden statue
that has been set up by the King.
As a consequence they are cast into
a white hot furnace by the King.

But these brave young men are seen
walking about in the flames, singing to God
and blessing the Lord, using the words
in this week's Responsorial.
An angel of the Lord goes down into the furnace and
makes the inside of the furnace as though a
“dew laden breeze were blowing through it.”
So the fire in no way touches or causes them pain or harm.

These three in the furnace with one voice sing,
glorifying and blessing God. The unwavering faith of
the three makes a strong impression on King Nebuchadnezzar
when he sees that these three young servants
of God have trusted in God and yielded their bodies,
rather than serve or worship the Babylonian god or
a golden statue. The King himself is so overwhelmed
that he undergoes a conversion and
exclaims, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego.”

The verses of the Responsorial affirm the power of God's
love for us.  Each day we encounter our own trial by fire 
and emerge unscathed, then we too are inspired to respond 
with the words of the three young Jewish men in the fiery 
furnace, “Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy and
exalted above all forever.”

Just as the men in the furnace were in awe of the glory
of the Lord, who sent an angel to rescue them, we too
stand in awe of the loving presence of our God. Helpless
without the strength of God in our lives, let us not focus on
our own predicaments, but on the greatness of our God,
“Blessed are you O Lord. Glory and praise forever!”

Amen
 

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The verses of the Responsorial are songs of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, 
who are rescued from the fiery furnace.  We all encounter trial by fire when we live 
our faith.  Speak of your own rescue by the power of the Lord.

2.  Daniel relates the story of King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion
after he observes 
the inspiring witness of the three young Jewish men.   Tell of how your own witness 
inspires others to become people of faith.