Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, February 5, 2012


Psalm 147:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6

The Psalm says that the Lord “rebuilds Jerusalem”
and “heals the brokenhearted, binds up our wounds.”
There is comfort in these words for all of us.  
The Psalm points to the healing power of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior,
which is displayed in this week’s Gospel.

We too can be rebuilt from the inside out
by the promise of salvation.  
It is surely by the grace of God
that we are made well.
It is God's grace
that drives the demons out of us;
there is no room in our hearts
for both the holy Spirit and the demons.
We get his grace from the sacrament of reconciliation.
We are empowered by the sacraments
to bear good fruit.

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power.”
There is even hope for Job in his drudgery
that we read about in our 1st reading.
Like Job we may be poor in spirit,
but it is at our moment of greatest weakness
that the Lord will call us by name –
“He numbers all the stars , calls each of them by name.”

 Having put our trust in the Lord, he will sustain us,
“The Lord sustains the lowly.”  
Once we realize that the Lord takes pleasure
in the lowly (for we are his sheep),
then as St. Paul says in our 2nd reading,
we can not help but praise God,
preach the Gospel ,and boast in our faith.  
The Psalmist says it well –
“How good to celebrate our God in song;
 how sweet to give fitting praise.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is, 'Praise the Lord,
who heals the brokenhearted.'  Explain how the verses
of the Psalm give you hope that the Lord will 'bind up your wounds.'

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord 'calls each of the stars by name.'  
Does this verse give you comfort that our Creator also knows your name
and seeks you out despite the infinite size of the universe?
What does this verse mean to you?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, January 29, 2012


 Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 7-9

Our Psalm is about obeying and worshiping God.
We are urged to bow down in worship before our God,
whose sheep we are (remember we are his well-tended flock).
We are instructed to be alert for his voice
and to be receptive to his teachings (we need to be good listeners).
We are not to harden our hearts or test the Lord
(as the Israelites did at Meribah).
We are to humble ourselves and open our
hearts to the Lord; this sets us free;
we are no longer constrained by the
things of this world,
and we can be open to his love and his teachings.  

Having called upon the Lord to speak to us
through one of our own kind (recall the lst reading from Deuteronomy),
then we had better listen to God’s son, Jesus.
His works should be sufficient to convince us of his
saving power and grace.

St. Paul tells us we need to be free
from anxiety and distractions;
not an easy thing to do when we are caught up
in the things of the world.
We would  all benefit
from an authoritative cleansing of our hearts,
and a removal of unclean forces that distract us
from praising the Lord.
One thing we can all probably use is a
spiritual housecleaning (recall what Jesus did for that man in the Gospel),
Then we can make room for Jesus to fill our hearts
and remain in us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm tells us not to harden our hearts
if we should hear the Lord's voice.  What causes you
to harden your heart in the presence of the Lord? 
What can you do to become a better listener
when you hear His voice, and how do the verses
of the Psalm help you in that regard?

2.  Our psalmist says, 'We are the people he shepherds.'
What does it mean to you to be one of God's sheep? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, January 22, 2012


Psalm 25:  4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Our Psalm is about God’s unfailing love
and his gentle guidance that is available to us.
All we have to do is trust him and humble ourselves,
and he will lead us back to the right path --
 “Make known to me your ways, Lord;
teach me your paths.”
Our psalmist David humbly
offers up his sins to God his savior,
and waits for God’s guidance.
“The Lord guides the humble rightly,
and teaches the humble his way.”

In the Gospel for this Sunday
the early disciples leave their nets
and their families behind
when Jesus calls out to them.
Jesus had a plan for his disciples,
as he singled them out to serve him.
God had a plan for Jonah as well (lst reading );
his mission was to warn the people of Nineveh
to repent and turn to the Lord.

St. Paul in our 2nd reading
has a similar message for all of us,
that time is running out and
any day now would be an acceptable day for us
to focus on our own salvation.
The Lord is there to guide us,
as he was in the days of David,
when he wrote the Psalm.
David has it right when  he says
‘Good and upright is the Lord,
who shows sinners the way.’

Whether it's through a Jonah
in our midst or through the
teaching of St. Paul (time is running out),
the message of the Lord is clear –
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
We can't necessarily do this on our own,
but as our psalmist says,  
'the Lord shows sinners the way,'
just as he did that day
by the sea of Galilee when he called those
early disciples to follow him.

The Lord is talking to all of us here;
we are all sinners.
We are all able to benefit
from the healing power of Jesus.
And where does the power come from
to turn away from sin?  
It comes from the Lord, who “shows sinners the way.”  
It is  He who encourages us when our tongues confess –
“Remember no more the sins of my youth;
remember me only in light of your love.”


 Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist petitions the Lord to 'Teach me your ways.'
How do you go about learning the ways of the Lord? 
Tell how the verses of the Psalm help you understand the ways of the Lord.

2.  Our Psalm says the Lord 'shows sinners the way.'
Give an example of how you have been guided by the Lord
to turn away from sin and repent.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, January 15, 2012


Psalm 40:  2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

This Psalm is a prayer of gratitude
and of obedience to the Lord.
Our psalmist David answered God’s call
when he said, “Here I am,”
in much the same way as does young Samuel
in our first reading.  
Samuel waited expectantly
for the Lord to speak to him –
he was ‘all ears’
when he heard the Lord’s voice,
and he grew up serving the Lord
and following God.

Our psalmist says,
“He put a new song into my mouth.”
For us too it is no longer the same old tune
or the same old we.   We are in fact
a new creation, singing out the good news.
Where does our joyful spirit come from?
It comes from the Lord, and we are called
to share what he has given us and to do
his will, which is our delight.

In the Gospel reading
Andrew recognizes Jesus as the anointed
and is drawn to him.
Andrew and  his brother Simon
truly become members of Christ.
They are joined to the Lord
and have become one spirit with him,
as St. Paul proclaims in our 2nd reading.

We too are called to follow Christ
and to do his will.
Obedience isn’t an unpleasant chore for us;
instead as the Psalm tells us,
“To do your will is my delight.”


Discussion questions for Reflection

1.  In this beautiful Psalm our psalmist speaks of
waiting, waiting for the Lord.   Tell what it means to you
to have waited for the Lord, and what has been the result
of your presenting yourself to the Lord?

2.  Our psalmist is delighted to do God's will;
he says to God, "your law is within my heart!"  
Have you also felt the Lord's pleasure
when you obey him and serve him?   What does
it mean to you to say God's law is within my heart?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, January 8, 2012


Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

This Psalm is a prayer for our newborn King.
Our psalmist speaks of a Messiah
who will be like the “rain coming down upon the fields,
like showers watering the earth.”
Our psalmist prays that our newborn King
will be anointed by God with divine judgment
and empowered to rule the earth.

Isaiah in our 1st reading predicts that the light of the Lord
will cause our hearts to overflow
and the riches of the sea to be emptied out before us.  
Our psalmist also speaks of “abundance”
that will flourish in the king's days.
But the Messiah is among us
to do more than bless us materially;
the savior has come to make our burdens easy,
to share our afflictions.
We see the light,
just as the prophet Isaiah said we would.
In the Psalm, the mystery is revealed to us,
poor in spirit though we are:
“He rescues the poor when they cry out [as we do],
the oppressed who have no one to help.”
This is what our Good Shepherd Jesus is sent to do,
to shepherd God’s people.
This is why we join the Magi in paying homage
to our newborn King and join with our psalmist in singing,
"Blessed be the Lord; Blessed be his glorious name."


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm says, 'Lord, every nation on earth will
adore you.'   Using the verses of the Psalm, explain why
'all kings' would want to pay homage to our Lord.

2.  Our psalmist mentions 'afflicted ones' and 'the afflicted'
in two of the Psalm's verses.  Are there times when you can
identify yourself as an 'afflicted' one?   Tell what remedies
are available to you that are mentioned in the Psalm.