Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Psalm for Sunday, January 1, 2012


Psalm 67:  2-3, 5, 6, 8

“May God bless us
and may he let his face shine upon us.”
So much that God does for us
is contained in this verse from the Psalm.
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.
Moreover, he gives us spiritual blessings as well ;
these are called by St. Paul the fruits of the spirit.

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 blessing.
The petition in the Psalm
is rooted in the early books of scripture;
today’s 1st reading  (Nm 6 : 22-27) says,
“The Lord let his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you.”

St. Paul (2nd reading) confirms that God
sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
so we could cry out “Abba, Father.”
The psalm predicts that God’s saving power shall be known
among all the nations (including ourselves).
God conveys that same message
to the Mother of our Lord in this week’s Gospel.
The shepherds from distant lands hear the news
that our Savior is born;
they return glorifying and praising God.
The Psalm also guides people like us to shout for joy,
“May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you!”

The Psalm calls for
the way of the Lord to become
known upon earth among all the nations.
Indeed the Psalm  predicts that
God’s saving power shall be known
among all the peoples.
Thankfully, that includes us.


 Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm petitions God to 'let his face shine upon us.'
What does it mean to you, especially during this
Octave of the Nativity, that God would let his face shine upon you?

2.  Our psalmist calls for God's salvation to be known
among all the nations.   How would you relate this verse
to the birth of our Savior?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Psalm for Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011


Psalm 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

What better Psalm is there for us to sing 
at the Mass that celebrates our Savior’s birth?
“The Lord has made his salvation known;
He has revealed his triumph for the nations to see.”  

Isaiah tells us as well, in our 1st reading,
to break out in song,
“For the Lord comforts his people,
and redeems Jerusalem.”  
The Psalm encourages us to sing joyfully
to the Lord and to sing praise,
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
break into song, sing praise.”

The Letter to the Hebrews (our 2nd reading)
tells us that God speaks to us
through the Son, and that Jesus takes his seat
at the right hand of the Father.
And the Psalm, in a prophetic way,
glorifies God’s right hand –
“[The Lord’s] right hand and holy arm
have won the victory.”

“[The Lord] has done marvelous deeds.”  
What could be more marvelous
than the birth of our savior?
The Son of God is to be the light of the world,
as St. John tells us in the Gospel.
What better reason do we have
to shout with joy to the Lord?
As the Psalm says, “Sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.”


Discussion  Questions for Reflection:

1.  Our Psalm says, 'Sing to the Lord a new song.'
In what way do these words inspire you to celebrate
the birth of our Savior at Christmas?  How is our song
at Christmas different from the other songs we sing?

2.  The Psalm says, 'All the ends of the earth
have seen the saving power of God ...
sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands.'  
These words imply prophetically that even the
Gentiles (ourselves) are included in Gods' salvation. 
What does it mean to you to have seen the
'saving power of God?'


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Psalm for Sunday, December 18, 2011


Psalm 89: 2-5, 27, 29

This Sunday's Psalm sings about God’s promise to Israel
and God's covenant with David.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.”
That same divine selection is celebrated
in our 1st reading from 2 Samuel that tells the story
of how David was taken from the pasture
to become Israel’s commander.

“I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”

And how does this young shepherd boy
rise to greatness in Israel?
He succeeds because he has found favor with God,
and God will be the source of his strength.
This is the same divine strength that St. Paul (2nd reading)
tells us is available to each of us,
if we believe and have faith.

But it isn’t a one way street with the Lord.
David is to show us that we must give glory to God.
He cries out “You are my Father, my God,
the Rock that brings me victory.”

Mary also finds favor with God
and is anointed to be the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus.
She too responds by giving glory to God
in this week’s Gospel.

The Lord’s covenant with David stands firm,
and it is through God’s promise to David
that the Messiah is born of Mary.
“Forever, I will maintain my love for [David];
my covenant with him stands firm.”
That promise to David is fulfilled
in the birth of our savior
and for that we too must give glory to God.


Discussion Questions for Reflection:

1. Our Psalm response is, 'Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.'
One reason to sing of the Lord's goodness is because His promises are trustworthy.
Describe how you have relied on the promises of the Lord in your journey.

2. David is to call out to the Lord, 'You are my father, my God,
the Rock, my savior.' We too are inspired to cry out to God in a similar way.
Tell of the times when you have felt like crying out to God in worship and praise.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Psalm for Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011


Luke 1: 46-50, 53-54

Mary, the mother of our Lord,
speaks this psalm of praise (the Magnificat)
to God in the words of a humble servant:
“ For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness.”

Despite her elevated position as God’s chosen instrument,
Mary does not exalt herself – she exalts God the Father.
Her soul “proclaims the greatness of the Lord .”
She glorifies the Lord;
“The Mighty One has done great things for me.”
Mary is truly God’s anointed one,
and the spirit of the Lord is upon her;
she “rejoices heartily in the Lord.”

And Mary inspires us:
we too are God’s lowly creatures,
and we should expect the Lord
to do great things for us as well.
We too should expect to be singled out
by the Lord to do his work.
This is our food (to do the Lord’s work)
just as it was for Jesus the Son.

Mary testifies to the light
(as does John the Baptist in our Gospel reading.)
Because of Mary’s faith,
the Old Testament promises are fulfilled,
and the tide is turned—as the Psalm says,
“the hungry (that is who we are) are filled with good things.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection:

1. Our Blessed Mother says, "the Almighty has done great things for me." In what way do you also believe that God has done great things for you, and how have you responded?

2. Mary declares that God has filled the 'hungry' with good things. Do you consider yourself one of the hungry ones? And if so, in what way has the Lord fed you with good things?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Psalm for Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011


The Psalm is a prayer
that God will restore peace and prosperity to the Israelites.
“Surely the Lord will proclaim peace to his people…
prosperity will fill our land.”

As the prophet Isaiah says in our 1st reading,
we look to the Lord for comfort,
and we are to “cry out at the top of our voice to our God.”
But for us Christians the Psalm is more than a cry –
it is a promise of salvation.
“Near indeed is salvation for those who fear him.”
St. Peter too affirms that the Lord does not delay
in keeping his promise in our 2nd reading.

And what should we expect?
Nothing less than the coming of the Messiah himself.
“Truth will spring from the earth,”
(when the Messiah is born).

The psalmist prepares the way of the Lord,
as does John the Baptist in this week’s Gospel,
As the psalm says, “Justice shall walk before him
and prepare the way of his steps.”


Discussion Questions for Reflections:

1. Our psalmist says, "I will hear what God proclaims." For us, this verse can be seen as a reminder to study the Word of the Lord. Explain how your study of the Word is strengthening your faith.

2. The Psalm says that, "Truth shall spring out of the earth." This verse may foretell the coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. What else about the Psalm prepares us for the birth of our Savior?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Psalm for Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011


Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19

This Psalm is a prayer to restore Israel,
and by extension to restore us,
as a scattered people of God.
The Psalm is well adapted to our prayers during Advent.
We are a people scattered and separated from God,
and we await His coming;
He alone can 'make us turn to Him' and convert us.
“Shepherd of Israel listen … come to save us.”
This is a direct appeal to God to shepherd us.
“The Lord shall stand firm and shepherd his flock.”

“Turn again Lord ... attend to this vine.”
Just as the Lord tends to His vineyard,
He protects a shoot planted by His right hand.
The coming of Christ is intended to revive us,
restore our strength. As the Psalm says,
“Then we will not withdraw from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.”

We all need to be renewed from
time to time when our faith grows lukewarm,
when our hearts harden due to the sins
that separate us from God.
Like the Prodigal Son, repentance
and a decision to return home to serve our Father
will brighten the face of our Lord,
and his face will shine upon us.