Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, June 3, 2012 (Holy Trinity)


Psalm 33:  4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22

“The eyes of the Lord are upon
those who fear him ...
to deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.”

We have been chosen by God
to be his people.
God is all powerful --
“By the word of the Lord
the heavens were made.”
“For he spoke, and it came to be.”

Our 1st reading (Deuteronomy) reminds us
we are to keep his commandments.
And we do this because we hold Him in awe.  

Like a Good Shepherd He protects us from harm;
He puts up a hedge around us
and provides us with armor
in our battle against death and the evil one;
He feeds us when we go through
periods of spiritual hunger.  
He nourishes us and gives us
our daily spiritual bread.  

“Our soul waits for the Lord,
who is our help and our shield.”
It is said that even people who have no faith
have a longing in their hearts for God.
There is something missing in their lives.
For us who are believers,
we are dependent on the Lord –
we openly seek his help and his protection.
He is our shield in the spiritual battle
that we all have to fight.

We would be dead in our sins
without the Lord's protection,
defeated by the evil one
without the Lord's armor.
And when our hearts
are starved for God's presence,
when our bones are dry,
he nourishes us
and breathes life into our dry bones.
“Lord we have put our hope in you.”

“ Our soul waits for the Lord ….”
We are delivered from death,
kept alive in times of spiritual famine.
We can expect to receive his grace.
And for this, we praise the Lord.
As the psalmist says,
we know he will fill the earth with kindness
and that his kindness will be upon us.

“We have put our hope in the Lord.”
Jesus, in turn, puts his hope in us,
commanding us to go out
and make disciples of all nations.
As God's children (2nd reading),
we must be submissive
and abandon ourselves to his Plan,
just as Jesus tells us in the Gospel.

We have been given to Jesus
so that we may proclaim
the good news of salvation.
In this way we carry out the Lord’s works
and celebrate what the Psalm says:
“The Lord loves justice and right.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this week is,
'Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.' 
Do you believe that you have been chosen by God
to be one of His children?   Explain.

2.  Our psalmist speaks of preserving us in spite of 'famine.' 
Have you gone through periods of spiritual hunger?  
How has your faith enabled you to regain your strength
and obtain nourishment?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, May 27, 2012 (Pentecost)


Psalm 104:  1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

“If you take away their breath,
they perish ... 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’s spirit 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
which came down on the disciples
in that locked room that St. Luke 

speaks of in our 1st reading.
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 2nd reading).
All we have to do is
accept Christ and believe in him.
Then we too will have the gift of life.

Without the breath of God, we are nothing.  
Just as the Holy Spirit empowered
the disciples at Pentecost,
so too are we empowered by our Creator.  
The presence of the Holy Spirit within us
is how we share in the divinity of Christ.  

Without the breath of the Holy Spirit,
we have no spiritual life.
But thanks to God's gift,
we are a new creation,
and we are baptized into Christ.  
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.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our Psalm reminds us that we are
dependent on the Lord for our very breath.   
Tell about what makes you aware of the 'divine Breath' in your life.

2.  Our Sunday Psalm Response is,
'Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.'   
Is the Holy Spirit doing a work in you?   Are you a 'new creation?'
Speak about your baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, May 20, 2012 (Ascension)

Psalm 47:  2-3, 6-7, 8-9

“God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy ....”
Our God is an awesome God.
This week 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.
With such an awesome God on his throne,
what hope do we have as mere human beings
that we will even be able to approach Him?
How far above us can this Jesus be,
if he is taken up to heaven
and has all things put beneath his feet ?

“Our God is an awesome God,
he reigns with power and love.”
Power is often associated with arrogance
and brutal treatment, but our God
uses his power to work miracles,
and bring about healing. 
And his power is expressed by his love,
by which we are raised up with Jesus.

Fortunately, for us men, Jesus has a plan for us –
we can feel his power and presence within us,
so long as we repent from our sins and believe in Him.
He is risen, and is seated at the right hand
of the Father in heaven.
Knowing this, we are the ones who shout with joy,
and we praise Him,
not only because he is risen Lord,
but because he leaves with us
a way to share in His divinity
(through the holy Spirit which he gives to us).

That same promise Jesus made to his disciples
is available to us – the promise of the Father,
the gift of the holy Spirit.
After Jesus' Ascension, the disciples begin
their active ministry empowered by the holy Spirit.
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 cries of gladness ... sing praise to God!”

Just as Jesus instructed the Apostles,
through the Holy Spirit,
so too, will he instruct us.
“For the Lord, the Most High, inspires awe.”
That same power that enabled the
Disciples to drive out demons
is available to us, so long as we believe.
Just as the Lord worked with the Apostles,
so too will he accompany us,
as we are called to go into the world
and proclaim the Gospel.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Over and over our psalmist calls for us
to shout to God and sing praise to God, as God mounts his throne.  
Tell of how you personally praise the Lord with 'cries of gladness.'

2.   The verses of our psalm for this Ascension Sunday
place our Lord in his kingship and on his throne,
and make it seem that God is so far above us
that we may not be able to approach Him easily.  
How do you handle this apparent dilemma?  
How do you approach our Lord?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, May 13, 2012


Psalm 98:  1, 2-3, 3-4
“Break into song, sing praise.”
The Lord makes all thing new,
and we are a new creation,
the work of his hands.
And so it is right that
we sing a 'new song' to the Lord,
who has done marvelous things for us. 

This is a Psalm of joy, originally
written to celebrate the return
of Israel from exile.
Today’s Gospel also speaks of joy --
our joy in keeping the Fathers’
commandments and imitating Christ.

The Psalm says,
“The Lord has made his salvation known;
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.”
This can be for us about Jesus' victory
over death and sin, so that we might live.
And how is salvation obtained;
how is the victory won?
It is won by God's holy arm,
his son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Victory is obtainable for us too,
if we keep the faith, give thanks to God, and praise Him. 

“The Lord has remembered his kindness
and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.”
What greater love can there be
than the love of the Lord?
(As put so profoundly in this
week’s 2nd reading from 1 John 4)

Our Psalm exclaims,
“All the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God.”
This verse and today's 1st reading
confirm that the gift of the holy Spirit
is for us Gentiles too.
For we are called to be baptized
in the name of Christ.
We too are appointed by Him
to go forth and bear fruit,
to remain in the love of the Lord,
and to do his will.


Discussion Questions for Reflection 

1.   Our Psalm Response is,
"The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power."  
How has the Lord shown his saving power to you personally?

2.   Our Psalm speaks of singing a new song,
of singing joyfully to the Lord,
and we are urged to break into song and sing praise.  
What is it about your faith and the Easter season
that makes you want to sing praise to the Lord?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, May 6, 2012

Psalm 22:   26-27, 28, 30, 31-32

These verses form the conclusion of
a psalm that begins with the songs
of the suffering righteous man
(the Messiah himself
during the time of his Passion).
The earlier verses include what
Christ said to the Father when
he was nailed to the cross,
“My God, my God,
why have you abandoned me?”

These final verses are more uplifting
and speak of the promise of salvation --
“The lowly shall eat their fill.”
(We who are poor in spirit are to live
life abundantly.)  and
“May your hearts live forever!”
(We can count on the Lord for salvation.)

And in these verses we are told that
the suffering of the righteous man
has brought about something good
in our human world.
“All the ends of the earth
will worship and turn to the Lord.”
“The generations to come …
will proclaim to a people yet unborn
the deliverance you have brought.”
Our hope returns in these final verses,
and we join with all the families of nations
in giving thanks to God,
who rules the world and dispenses justice.

Jesus says in today's Gospel,
“You can only bear fruit if you remain in me.”
And how do we remain in him?
The psalm says, “I will fulfill my vows
before those who fear the LORD.”
(We are to keep his commandments.)

Finally, our psalmist commits to the Lord                                           
that his descendants will serve Him,
“The generation to come will be told of the Lord.”
Here we are inspired by our 1st reading
where Barnabas reports that Saul
spoke out boldly in the name of Jesus.
What better way for us to bear fruit,
than to speak out boldly for our faith,
to our children and grandchildren.

“To him my soul shall live.”
The Psalm ends with a reversal of
the righteous man's condition;
life is restored and the whole world
celebrates his deliverance.
What better Easter message is there than that?
And what more inspiring words for the early
Church as it reaches out to proclaim
the Gospel to the Gentiles.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "I will fulfill my vows
before those who fear the LORD."   Does this verse inspire
you to confirm your faith boldly and take up God's praise
in the company of your fellow believers?   Discuss.

2.  The Psalm ends with an uplifting call for us to proclaim
the Lord's truth to the next generation.   Describe how
you have answered the Lord's call and how you go about
telling others about God's love.