Monday, September 18, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 24, 2017


Reflections


“Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.”



When we reflect on what 
God has done for us,
we remember that God 
has always done good
things for us.   That is 
God's nature.  As the Psalm 
says,  “His greatness is 
unsearchable.”  And so 
we pray this psalm to 
bless, praise, and exalt 
the heavenly Father in 
His perfection and in 
His works.

Our psalmist dwells on 
the everlasting nature of God,
on His love and presence 
throughout all time, and we 
are called to praise the Lord 
forever and ever.
Our psalmist reminds us, 
“The Lord is good to all 
and compassionate 
toward all His works.” 
We know this inherently 
because we live our lives 
within an unending stream 
of divine love.

“The Lord is near to all 
who call upon him.”
His presence is shown 
in the help, nourishment, 
and salvation that He shows 
to us.  The prophet Isaiah 
urges us, “Seek the Lord 
while He may be found, 
call Him while He is near.”
(Isaiah 55: 6)

We praise God because of 
His divine attributes
of compassion and love.
And fortunately for us, 
the Son shares fully in 
the perfection and works 
of the Father.  So we also 
sing this psalm in honor of 
Christ our Savior, Who shares 
fully in the perfection of God,
and in the works of the Father,


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist assures us, 'The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.'   
This verse requires us to make the extra effort to reach out to God if we want to be in His presence.  Tell of how you have reached out to the Lord and what has been the result.

2.  The Psalm calls upon us to praise His name forever and ever.  Say how you go about praising the Lord in your daily life.  Give examples.





Monday, September 11, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 17, 2017


Reflections



"Not according to our sins 
does He deal with us."


Our psalmist sings the praises
of a divine and loving God, 
who surrounds us with 
compassion, pardons our sins, 
heals our ills.
He nurses no lasting anger, 
He has not dealt with us as our 
sins deserve.  Our duty is to 
remain faithful to the Lord, 
as we are His children,
and to treat His anointed ones 
with love and compassion, 
as He would do.

We are to be merciful to our enemies 
by imitating the Father.  The Psalm 
tells us how:  
“Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
Slow to anger and abounding in kindness.”

Who can love their enemies, and do good 
to them?  It will be difficult if we allow our 
earthly nature to rule us.  Just as “God 
has not dealt with us as our sins merit,”
so must we have compassion on those
we may be inclined to condemn.

We cannot imitate God without a share 
in Christ’s divinity, by allowing the Holy 
Spirit within us to guide us.  Only then 
will we have the kind of compassion 
the psalmist speaks about.

As the Psalm says, God’s love towers over us
if we are his faithful.
If we love the Lord, it will show in our hearts,
and the old things will then pass away.
The Psalm says it well:
As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He put our transgressions behind us.


Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  Our Psalm speaks of a loving and compassionate God,
who does not deal with us according to our sins.   Are you able
to treat those who have harmed you in the same way?  Explain.

2.  The verses of the Psalm remind us of the power of the
Sacrament of Reconciliation, "As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He put our transgressions behind us."  Relate how the
Sacrament works for you to put your sins behind you.





Monday, September 4, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 10, 2017


Reflections

Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 8-9  (Read)


"Oh that today you would hear 
his voice."
 
Knowing God's will is hard enough;
discernment is a gift from God.
But even if we are gifted enough to
be able to discern God 's will,
will we have the courage and 
conviction to actually do His will?  
 
In Sunday's first reading Ezekiel is enjoined
by the Lord to warn the wicked among
the house of Israel and try to turn them from
their ways. (Ezekiel 33: 7-9)
In the Gospel, too, Jesus instructs the disciples
how to deal with a brother who sins against
a disciple. (Matthew 18: 15-17)
 
Doing the will of God must have been difficult 
even for the prophet Ezekiel.
How much more so is the will of God 
a challenge for ordinary people like us?
Even the disciples must have been in awe 
of what Jesus was commanding them to do.
 
Our spiritual history is full of occasions
where the faithful were known to have
hardened their hearts and refused to listen
to God's voice, though they had seen
His works, as our psalmist mentions.
But after all, He is our God, as the Psalm says,
and we are the people He shepherds.
 
Our job is to kneel before the Lord who
made us and to carry out His will the best
we can.   And if we are careful to listen to 
His voice, He will empower us to do His will, 
just as Jesus empowered the disciples 
to rise up to the challenge of the Great 
Commission and to become ordinary men 
performing extraordinary deeds.
 
Amen

 
Discussion Questions for Reflection
 
1.  Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts if we hear God's voice.   Do you find it difficult sometimes to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe He is speaking to you?   Give an example.
 
2.  The Psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd.   Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among His flock?  If so, what does it mean to you to be shepherded by the Lord?



Monday, August 28, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 3, 2017


Reflections


“My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”

This prayer of longing was written 
at a time when David was in the desert, 
a place where physical thirst was all 
around him, and the earth was
parched, lifeless and without water.
But David is writing also about a spiritual 
thirst that overwhelms him and reminds 
him of the emptiness of life without God.

David meditates on those happier moments 
when he was close to the Lord, when his soul
was satisfied as with the riches of a banquet,
and when he took shelter in the shadow of
the wings of God.

We too go through times of spiritual deprivation
when we are away from God and indulge in
sinful practices that separate us from Him.
At those times, like a penitent sinner, we
experience our deepest longing for the love 
of the Lord, and we seek out His loving embrace.
As our psalmist says, at times like that our soul
clings fast to the Lord, we bless Him, we glorify Him,
we praise Him.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist seeks the Lord because his soul thirsts for Him.
Give an example 
of a time when you have hungered for God's presence and blessing in your life.

2.  The Psalm speaks of gazing toward the Lord in the sanctuary.  Tell of a time 

when you have gazed at the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of your parish 
and how you could see His power and His glory.


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.