Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, July 1, 2012


Psalm 30:  2, 4-6, 11-13

“I praise you Lord, for you raise me up …
you kept me from going down into the pit.”

God is in the business of healing;
as our 1st reading says,
God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice
at the destruction of the living.
His “Divine favor lasts a lifetime.”
Just as Jairus' daughter
is saved from death
in this Sunday's Gospel,
we too are able to be saved
from going down into the pit,
by the grace of God.
We too are eligible
for a spiritual resurrection
if our faith is strong.

We may be rebuked by God
for disobeying Him.
We are, after all, his wayward children,
and he loves us as a Father loves his own.
God's compassion and mercy
are with us not only in this life,
but in eternity.
“Divine anger lasts but a moment;
divine favor lasts a lifetime.”

Our Lord Jesus himself
was raised up from the pit by the Father,
even though He bore the weight of our sins.
God’s anger over the sins of all men
that Christ took upon himself,
lasted but a moment.

The joy of 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,”
“to clothe us with gladness,”
We are prompted
to “sing endless praise to the Lord.”
“O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist praises God for having rescued him
and brought him 'up from the netherworld.'  
Tell about how you have been saved
from your enemies, the devil and his companions.

2.  The Psalm says that the anger of the Lord
lasts but a moment.   Have you been rebuked by the Lord?
If so, what did you learn from this, and in what way
are you grateful for being corrected by the Lord?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, June 24, 2012


Psalm 139:  1-3, 13-15

“Lord, you have probed me, you know me.”

Our psalmist David tells us
that there is no way to hide from God,
who is all knowing,
and who is present to us always.
David says later in the Psalm,
“Where can I hide from your spirit?
From your presence, where can I flee?”
There really is no need for us
to run away from the Lord.
His presence within us draws us closer to Him.
There is no reason for anxiety
just because He knows all our inner secrets
(“With all my ways you are familiar.”)

In fact his presence is merely to confirm
that we have a share in His divinity,
After all, God is the one
“Who knit us in our mother's womb.”
He is our Creator, so why would we run from Him?  
On the contrary, we are drawn to Him,
and we are led by Him along right paths.

“Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.” 
When we hear these words,
we are reminded that John the Baptist
leaps in his mother's womb
when Mary visits Elizabeth. 
John heralds the coming of Christ
even while he remains in the depths
of his mother’s womb. 
Surely John the Baptist was
wonderfully made and so much of what
our psalmist says seems fit to apply to John.

As for us, truly the Lord is familiar
with all our ways; he knows our soul full well,
and he knows our frame as well. 
Just as the hand of God was with John
from the moment of his conception,
so the Lord has a plan for each of us as well.
We are wonderfully made because the Lord
wouldn't have it any other way.
He equips us to do his work;
to be a light to our families and our communities;
to preach the Gospel and 'when necessary use words.'
We may not all be headed for a sojourn
in the desert, but the Lord knows
when we sit and when we stand;
he scrutinizes our journeys,
and he has made us for a purpose. 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response is, "I praise you, for I am wonderfully made."  
Do you believe that you are created by God to do His will,
that you are made for a purpose?  Explain.

2.  Our psalmist says, "O Lord, you have probed me, you know me."  
We cannot hide anything from our God; He is familiar with all our ways.  
Are you convicted by these words?  
Are there sins you commit that you would prefer to
keep in the dark, or on a side porch, away from God's knowledge?
In what way are you grateful for the scrutiny of the Lord?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, June 17, 2012


Displaying an attitude of gratitude.  Sending a thank-you note.  Saying your "please and thank you’s”.   Such are lessons we teach our children as we train them in what is socially proper.  If only we would spend as much time considering what is proper in the spiritual sense. 

God our Creator is all-deserving and worthy of our praise.  A well-known prayer guide pinpoints five essential elements of prayer.  Adoration, Confession, Petition, and Intercession,
are ALWAYS followed by Thanksgiving. 
Psalm 92:1 is often quoted in support:
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, Most High." 

Also to be noted is the use of the word "sing" in that first verse. 
The Lord loves to hear our voices in song. 
Thus, hymns of any sort are an integral part of worship.
Something about singing focuses our hearts on Jesus and softens
HIS heart to accept our prayerful pleas. 

Our Abba Father gives us our days in 24 hour increments. 
Could we handle any more?  His grace is enough for each day; 
the psalmist writes, "(It is good...) to proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night."

The cedar of Lebanon is a mighty and beautiful tree referenced
throughout Scripture.  In the first reading, a small cedar shoot
is replanted and compared to a "majestic cedar" as it grows strong
with its roots firmly planted.  The Psalm says,
“The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow." 

Later, the psalmist writes, "They shall bear fruit even in old age; 
vigorous and sturdy shall they be ...."  
Living in a righteous manner, with the foundations
of our beliefs firmly rooted, we, too, are called to have
the strength and fruitfulness of the cedar, even unto the
very end of our earthly lives.  The psalmist uses
the imagery of being solid, he speaks of the Lord as "my rock."     


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  "Lord, you are holy indeed.  It is right to give you thanks and praise .... "
are familiar words to any Mass-goer.   How do you sincerely
give thanks to the Lord in your daily life?

2.  How can you become more like the upright palm tree
or the majestic and firmly-rooted Lebanese cedar?  
Do others see you as a just and righteous person
through your everyday speech and actions?  
What can you change about yourself so that you, too, 

can "bear fruit even in old age?"    


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, June 10, 2012

(Corpus Christi)

Psalm  116: 12-13, 15-16, 17-18

“I will take the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.”

This saving cup
is the same cup that we  share
each time we participate
in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
It is the cup of the blood that Jesus shed
to mark the new covenant
with people of faith.

We  are saved by Christ;
He is the divine victim.
Our psalmist asks,
“How can I repay the Lord
for all the good he has done for me?”

“Precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful ones.”
What could be more costly
than the death of God’s only son?
Yet God consented to the death of his Son
because of his love for us;
God did not spare him.
Once again we ask,
“How can I repay the Lord
for all the good he has done for me?”

Certainly we are all obliged
to pay our vows to the Lord,
to give him praise,
to obey his commandments,
and to do his will.
“My vows to the Lord I will pay
in the presence of all his people.”

We are to praise him and worship him
in the presence of the community. 
It is not just between us and God.  
We are part of a community, and
we are to acknowledge him
and bow down to him publicly. 
And we are to proclaim the Gospel!

“O Lord, I am your servant,
you have loosed my bonds.”
We are made free
by becoming the Lord's servant.
That is how it is when
we follow his commandments
and do his will.
It is not something that binds us.
Rather, it is something
that sets us free.
We take delight
in serving the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist asks, "How shall I make a return to the Lord
for all the good he has done for me?" 
How do you go about repaying the Lord for your salvation?

2.  Per the Psalm, we are obliged to pay our vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.  In what ways do you continue
to express your love of the Lord in your faith community?