Monday, May 20, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, May 26, 2019


Reflections
 

Psalm 67:  2-3, 5-6, 8   (Read)

“May God be gracious to us and bless us;
may God's face shine upon us.” 

 

So much that God does for us is contained
in this opening verse of the Psalm.  God gives
us His grace through His son Jesus, who is
our Savior.  And we all want God’s blessings as
the Psalm says.  Since the time of Moses,
God’s chosen people have reached out for
God’s blessings.

 

God gives us material blessings –
all our treasure and gifts are from Him.
And thankfully, He gives us spiritual blessings
as well – as St Paul tells us, to each individual
the manifestation of the spirit is given for
some benefit.  

 

No wonder that we Gentiles were attracted
to the faith, when St Paul and Barnabas
were traveling through the towns and visiting
the early churches.  And what could be better
than to have God's face shine upon us, as the
psalmist says.  We have a hint of what the
radiance of God's face may be like in this
Sunday's 2nd reading, where St John speaks of
the light of God's glory that shines in the
city of heaven.  (John 21: 10-11)

 

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.

 

Today we join with our psalmist and the members
of the early church in praising God –
“May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.”

 

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection
  
 
1.  Our psalmist asks that God will let His face shine upon us.   
Tell of how you have felt the radiance of God when He is present to you.

2.  The Psalm prays that the Lord's 'way' be known among all nations.   
What have you done personally to encourage others to follow 
the 'way' of the Lord? 



Monday, May 13, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, May 19, 2019


Reflections
 
Psalm 145:  8-9, 10-11, 12-13   (Read) 


“The Lord is good to all and
compassionate toward all his works.”

 

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, “The Lord is gracious and
merciful and of great kindness.”
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.  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 with an unending stream of divine love.

 

There are times when 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?” 

 

Afflictions go hand in hand 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 as we are humbled.
We become better servants if we bear up
with our difficulties and trust in the Lord,
as our psalmist tells us.  

 

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.   The Psalm says, 'Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord.'    

Are you one of His works?   Tell of how you give thanks to the Lord 
and bless Him as one of His faithful ones.

2.   Our psalmist speaks of the everlasting nature of God's divine love.   

Describe how God's love has helped you to overcome hardship 
and get 'yoked' to Jesus. 



Monday, May 6, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, May 12, 2019


Reflections 



"We are God's people,
the sheep of his flock." 

The Psalm begins with a call for us
to 'sing joyfully to the Lord.'  That
same joyful spirit filled St Paul and 
his companions when they began 
their ministry to the Gentiles that 
day in Antioch.  (Acts 13:14, 43-52)
And their ministry has become our 
ministry – as our psalmist says, 
we are called to 'worship the Lord 
with cries of gladness; come before 
Him with joyful song.' 

But after all, we are like sheep, and 
we need someone to look after us 
so that we don't go astray.  What 
could be better than to have Jesus
as our Good Shepherd?   We are his 
lambs; we hear his voice; He knows 
us; and we follow Him. 

As our psalmist says, we belong to God.
And God has given us to his Son. No one 
can take us out of his hand, as Jesus tells 
us in today's Gospel. (John 10:27-30)
We are a well tended flock indeed. 

As our Lord's sheep, we hear his voice, 
we follow Him, and we praise Him because,
'Good indeed is the Lord, his love endures 
forever, his faithfulness lasts through every 
generation.'

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  There is something comforting about being shepherded by
our Lord Jesus.  Our psalmist says we are 'the flock He tends.'
Speak of how you feel to be one of His sheep.

2.  The Psalm tells us to 'serve the Lord with gladness.'   Give an
example of how you are serving Him with a joyful spirit.
 
  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, May 5, 2019

Reflections



“I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up."


This is a Psalm that Jesus himself 
might have prayed, following his 
resurrection: “I praise you, Lord, 
for you raised me up and did not 
let my enemies rejoice over me.”

Our Lord Jesus was raised up 
from the pit by the Father, even 
though He bore the weight of our 
sins.  “Lord you brought me up 
from the netherworld; you let me 
live, from going down to the pit.”

God’s anger over the sins of all men,
that Christ took upon himself, lasted 
but a moment -- “Divine anger lasts 
but a moment; divine favor lasts 
a lifetime.”

The Psalm speaks to us as we take part 
in the joy of Easter. The joy of the resurrection 
comes to us at dawn, after a terrible night, 
as it came to those early followers of Jesus.
“At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the 
dawn, rejoicing.” And that alone is reason 
enough to change our mourning into dancing.

The Psalm concludes with praise that is 
worthy of the Lamb, and recalls for us the 
voices of the angels that St John speaks of in 
today's second reading from Revelation 5:11-12,
“O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection 
  
1.  Our psalmist says that God's anger lasts but a moment, while His favor 
lasts a lifetime.   Give an example of how you have been blessed by God's 
favor after having fallen away for a time.

2.  The Psalm speaks of changing our mourning into dancing.   Tell of how the 
resurrection of our Lord has lifted you up and brought within you a rejoicing of the spirit.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Psalm for Sunday, April 28, 2019


Reflections

Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24   (Read)

“I was hard pressed and falling, 
 but the Lord came to me as savior.” 
 
  













Once again we visit this powerful psalm 
of praise and thanksgiving. This time the
verses stress the enduring love that God 
has for us, so much so that despite the part 
we played in crucifying his Son, God went
ahead with His plan to save us.
Jesus’ risen presence among us is living 
proof of God’s enduring love. Our psalmist
assures us, “God’s mercy endures forever.”

We may be hard pressed and falling, or
we may be spiritually sick and weakened 
by sin. Are we really any different from those
Dr Luke speaks of in today's first reading, 
any less desperate or in need of the Lord's 
healing power and presence in our lives? 
(Acts 5:15-16)

Fortunately the Lord comes to us as Savior,
as our psalmist says. And the Lord is present
to us when we are frightened, as He was present 
to those frightened disciples in the upper room. 
(John 20:19-21)
Who would have been more hard pressed and 
falling than they were before Jesus appeared 
to them and blessed them and extended his 
peace to them? That same source of strength 
the psalmist speaks of is available to us – 
all we have to do is believe and open our hearts 
to receive his saving grace.

As the psalmist says, the Lord is our strength.
He is present to us, just as He was in those early 
days of the church described in today's first reading 
and in today's Gospel of St John.
We may not have the awesome experience 
Thomas had of physically putting our hand in 
the Lord’s side and our fingers into the nail 
marks on his hand, but He is with us.  

We are victorious over death. The Lord’s
deliverance is cause for joy. Just when we were 
down, the Lord raises us up. “I was hard pressed 
and falling, but the Lord has been my Savior.” 
“The joyful shout of victory is heard.”  The verses of 
the Psalm confirm that we are on firm ground after all.

When Thomas put his fingers into the Lord's side,
it was clearly a moment of epiphany for Thomas 
and for us as well. Thomas was struck with awe, 
and came to believe in the risen Lord. What does 
it take for us, though we have not seen, to get down 
on our knees and say, “My Lord and my God.”
(John 20: 24-28)

Christ has become our cornerstone, as our 
psalmist reminds us. Christ has become a 
source of strength for us, despite his apparent 
weakness that day on the cross, when he died 
a shameful death. 

Only the Lord could have done this remarkable 
thing.  As the Psalm says, “By the Lord has this 
been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.” This is 
cause for rejoicing -- “This is the day the Lord
has made.”  Along with the disciples and the 
early church, “Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”

Amen

  
Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Have you ever been 'hard pressed and falling,' as was our psalmist?   
Describe how the Lord has been your strength and courage in times of trouble.

2.  As the Psalm says, 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.'   Speak of how our Savior has become the rock you can rely on 
in your life.



Monday, April 15, 2019

Psalm for Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019


Reflections


“This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad.”

Jesus’ risen presence among us
is living proof of God’s enduring love. 
As the psalmist says, “God’s love endures 
forever.”  The Lord’s deliverance is cause
for joy.  Just when we were down, the Lord 
raises us up. The joyful shout of deliverance
is heard. We are on firm ground after all – 
Christ has become our cornerstone.

In the Psalm we read in advance of the 
Paschal Mystery. Christ, who is rejected 
and then exalted, becomes the foundation
stone of the new People of God -- 
“I shall not die, but live and declare the 
works of the Lord.” This is Jesus speaking 
about His own resurrection and about His 
food, which is to do the work of the Father.

The Psalm says, “The right hand of the 
Lord has struck with power; the right hand 
of the Lord is exalted.” Our days of mocking 
our Savior are over; we no longer hurl insults 
at Him. 

Our savior has risen. “By the Lord has this 
been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.”
“The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in 
the tents of the victors.” The Psalm celebrates 
a great victory over death. This victory is 
delivered by the Lord’s right hand, a clear 
notice in advance of the power of the Son of God.

Our risen Savior has defeated death and the 
grasp that sin has on us. And having been saved,
what are we to do? What is our commission? 
St Peter tells us in today's first reading, “He 
commissioned us to preach to the people and 
testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God.” 
(Acts 10:42)

Christ has become our cornerstone. “The stone 
the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Christ has become a source of strength for us, 
despite his apparent weakness that day on the cross, 
when He died a shameful death. Only the Lord 
could have done this remarkable thing:
“This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad.”

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection
 
1.  The Psalm speaks of a great victory over death, 'I shall not die, but live.'  
Tell of how you share in Christ's victory over death and what this means to you.

2.  Having been saved from death, the psalmist says he will 'declare the works of 
the Lord.'   Speak of how you are empowered by our Lord's resurrection to go forth 
and proclaim the Gospel.