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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, June 4, 2017


Reflections

Psalm 104: 1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34  (Read)

 
“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 our Creator 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 that came down on the 

disciples in that locked room St Luke speaks of in 
Sunday's 1st 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 our 
second reading. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
All we have to do is accept Christ and believe in him.

Without the breath of the Holy Spirit, we have no 

spiritual life.  But thanks to God's gift, we are a new 
creation; we are baptized into Christ, and we share 
in the divinity of our Lord.  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.  As in our Psalm, do you also feel the presence of the 'divine breath' in your 
spiritual life?  Speak of how the Holy Spirit is at work in your life.

2.  Our psalmist says that the Spirit of the Lord 'renews the face of the earth.'   

Tell of how you are a new creation, after having been baptized in the Holy Spirit.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, May 28, 2017


Reflections


“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy.”

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension 
of our Lord, who was taken up to heaven 
to be seated at the right hand of the Father, 
far above every principality, with authority 
over every nation, as our 2nd reading
tells us (Ephesians 1: 20-21).

With such an awesome God on His throne, 
what hope do we have as mere human beings 
that He will have anything more to do with us? 
How far removed can we be if this Jesus is taken
up to heaven and has all things put beneath His 
feet (including us)?

Fortunately, for us men, Jesus leaves with us a way
to share in His divinity, through the Holy Spirit which 
He gives to us. His power and presence remain within 
us, so long as we repent from our sins and believe 
in Him.

Power is often associated with arrogance and brutal
treatment, but our God uses His power to work
miracles, and bring about healing. He is risen, and
is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
Knowing this, we shout with joy, and we praise Him.

As today's Gospel tells us, after Jesus' ascension, the
disciples began their active ministry, empowered by
the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 16-20). That same power
is given to us so long as we believe; we too are called
to ministry. And for that we are inspired to praise
the Lord, as the psalmist says, “Clap your hands,
shout to God with joyful cries; sing praise to God!”

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks of God mounting His throne and reigning over
the nations.   
If God is raised up so far above us, how do you go about having a relationship 
with our Lord so that He is present to you?

2.  The Psalm's verses tell of God as the great king over all the earth,
and we are 
urged to sing praise to our king.  Describe how our Lord's ascension inspires you 
to celebrate with shouts of joy.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, May 21, 2017


Reflections
 
Psalm 66: 1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20  (Read)

“Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”


The Psalm celebrates the awesome power 
of God, manifest in “His tremendous deeds 
among the children of Adam.” Our psalmist 
recalls the dividing of the Red Sea, which 
delivered Israel from the Egyptians, by the
favor of God.  That same awesome power 
that split the Red Sea became available 
to the early apostles of the Church, as they 
went about healing and doing signs and 
wonders.

Where does that power come from to heal 

the lame and drive out unclean spirits?   
It comes from the Holy Spirit, who accomplishes 
in each of us a spiritual resurrection.

No wonder those early believers in Samaria 
were eager to have St Peter and St John lay 
hands on them so they could receive the Holy 
Spirit (Sunday's 1st reading, Acts 8: 14,17)
In response, they cry out to God with joy, as our 
psalmist says, “Let all the earth cry out to God 
with joy.”

We too cannot help but sing praise to God 

when we feel His presence within us.  In Sunday's 
Gospel (John 14:16-18) our Savior promises that 
He will not leave us spiritual orphans.  Rather, 
He assures us that we are in Him and He is in us.
We proclaim His glorious praise, and we on earth 

worship Him.  We want all the earth to know what 
God has done for us; as the Psalm says, we shout 
joyfully to God and proclaim His glorious praise.

Amen



Discussion Questions for Reflection  

 1.  The Psalm urges us to say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!" 
Speak of the Lord's awesome works in your life and how you go about praising Him.

2.  Our psalmist blesses God who "refused me not."  Tell of how
your petitions and 
prayers have been answered by the Lord.