Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, April 29, 2012

Psalm 118:  1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

This is an Easter psalm;
the psalmist speaks of our savior, our cornerstone.
It is Jesus, and though he appeared
weak and beaten on the cross,
he became victorious over death.
The psalmist speaks of that same irony.
“The stone rejected by the builders
has become the cornerstone.”

The Psalm tells us we are to “Take refuge in the Lord.”
Though mortals may disappoint us,
the Lord will not leave us discouraged.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put one's trust in princes.
Little children know instinctively whom to trust --
they know where the love is coming from.
And we are the same;
as children of God (2nd reading), we put our trust in the Lord.   
He is the Good Shepherd.
Where else would we turn?

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”
It is none other than the Good Shepherd
who comes in the name of the Lord,
to care and protect us sheep (today's Gospel).
Our calling is only to listen for his voice
and to follow him.
Who else knows us as he does,
or is willing to lay down his life for us?

The psalm recalls for us
the paschal mystery of Christ,
who is crucified, resurrected,
and then exalted as the capstone of our faith.
God has shown his love for his people --
Jesus’ risen presence among us
is living proof of God’s enduring love.
Our psalmist confirm this, “God’s love endures forever.'
The Lord’s deliverance is cause for joy.
God’s love is empowering, as the psalm suggests,
This is how we pass from death to life.

We may not have been
one of those who saw Christ
after he rose from the dead,
but he is no less real to us.
There is no doubt that
God's divine intervention
was at work in Christ’s resurrection.  
As the psalmist says, we know that,
“By the Lord has this been done,
it is wonderful in our eyes.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist reminds us more than once to trust God,
not mortals or princes.   Even though you may not have seen
the Lord in person, do you have any difficulty trusting in one
you have not seen?   Explain.

2.  The Psalm says, 'Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.'   This verse is used
in scripture to welcome Jesus.   Discuss how you
have welcomed Jesus into your life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, April 22, 2012


Psalm 4:  2, 4, 7-8, 9

This Psalm is about trust in God.
Our Psalmist, King David, is filled
with desire for God's mercy,
and invites us to pray, saying,
“When I call, answer me,
O my just God, …  hear my prayer.”
David reminds us the Lord
works wonders for the faithful,
“The Lord does wonders for his faithful one.”

Part of keeping our faith must surely be
keeping our Lord’s commandments,
as we are reminded to do in
this week’s 2nd reading --  1 John says,
“Whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.”
What more could we ask for?
Is it necessary that the risen Jesus
show us his hands and feet,
or touch his flesh and bones (today's Gospel)?

Our psalmist reminds us it is in our hearts
where the Lord’s presence does the most good.
“You put gladness into my heart.”
If our hearts are made clean,
and our sins are forgiven
by the Easter sacrifice and resurrection
of God’s only son,
who or what can stand in our way?

What the Lord Jesus has done for us
will give rise to action on our part.
For just as the disciples were  witnesses
of what came to pass 2000 years ago,
so too are we called to witness for the Lord.
We are called to keep his word,
and to open our minds, so that we too can
better understand the scriptures.
And then go about doing his work.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this week is,
"Lord, let your face shine on us."  
What does it mean to you the have
the 'light of His countenance' shine upon you?

2.  Our psalmist repeatedly petitions
the Lord to answer him and to hear him.  
Have you also prayed as David did
for the Lord to hear your prayer?  
What has been the result?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, April 15, 2012


Psalm 118:  2-4, 13-15, 22-24

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 and carried out his plan to save us.
Jesus’ risen presence among us
is living proof of God’s enduring love.
“God’s love endures forever.”

We may be 'hard pressed and falling,'
but the Lord comes to our help.
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 our 1st reading and in the Gospel.

We may not have the awesome experience
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.
“The Lord comes to us as Savior.”

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 ….”
 We are on firm ground after all –
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:
“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.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist praises the Lord for the wonderful work
He has done in making the stone that was rejected
become our cornerstone.  Why do you think God
would permit his Son to undergo a shameful death
in order to make Jesus the cornerstone of our faith?

2.  Our psalm begins by stressing over and over
that the mercy of God endures forever,
and this Sunday's Response also says, 'His love is everlasting.'  
Describe how these verses strengthen your faith
and inspire you to trust in the Lord.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Psalm for Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012


Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23

This is an Easter song that marks
the procession of the pilgrims going up
to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles.
The Psalm begins with a call to praise
that starts the procession.
“Give thanks to the Lord …
whose love endures forever.”
The procession sings a hymn
of thanksgiving along the way.

Israel is continuously put to the test,
humbled and then delivered.
In so doing Israel discovers its calling
to be a people of God
and to bear witness to the nations.

Jesus makes this calling his own,
and in the Psalm we read in advance
of the mystery of Christ,
who is rejected and then exalted,
and who becomes the foundation stone
of the new People of God --
“I shall not die, but live.
And declare the works of the Lord.”

As the psalmist 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. 

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.”
Our savior has risen.
“By the Lord has this been done;
It is wonderful in our eyes.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our Response is, "This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad."  On this Easter Sunday,
explain what is the basis of your joy and gladness and how your
life is affected by our exalted Savior.

2.  Our Lord, rejected by the 'builders' of his time,
has become the 'cornerstone' of our lives.   What does it mean
to you to build your faith on the resurrection of Jesus?