Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, August 5, 2012


Psalm 78:  3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven.”

Our psalm this week is once again
about our spiritual and physical food
that we receive from the Lord.
Just as the Israelites of old were fed
when the Lord 'rained down manna
upon them for food,'  so too we are fed
today with the body and blood of our Savior
in the sacrament of  the Eucharist.

But are we worthy, are we deserving
of this heavenly food, that comes to us
through the passion of our Lord,
the sacrifice of God's only Son? 
Over and over again our spiritual ancestors
turned away from God and were deceitful
despite the 'glorious deeds of the Lord
and the wonders that he wrought' on their behalf.
Must we too be chastised before
we repent and turn back to God?

Our own history isn't much different
from that of our ancestors –
a cycle of divine grace; followed by ingratitude;
then punishment; then renewed generosity. 
We are obliged to repeat the history
of our ancestors, and in the end we are
at the mercy of God.  In fact without His grace
where would we obtain our 'daily bread'?

Do we grumble until our prayers are answered? 
Do we persist in putting God to the test? 
Are we grateful for the food we receive
from the Lord?   Or are we quick to forget
what the Lord has done for us?

St. Paul tells us (2nd reading) that
we really do need to repent and that
we should 'put away the old self of our
former way of life, corrupted through
deceitful desires, and put on the new self .'
And having done that, we are ready
to receive that precious bread from heaven. 
Like the crowd at Capernaum (Gospel),
we plead with Jesus to give of himself
to us each day, so that we may eat of
the bread of life and never hunger again.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist promises, "We will declare
to the generation to come the glorious deeds of the Lord ...."
What part have you played in passing on your faith
to the next generation?

2.   Our Psalm speaks of the Lord  bringing His people
to 'His holy land, to the mountains His right hand has won.'
What does it take for you to be able to climb the mountain of the Lord?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Psalm for July 29, 2012


“The eyes of all look hopefully to you;
you give them their food in due season.”

Just as Elisha fed one hundred men
from a few barley loaves,
so Jesus feeds a multitude of us
even today.   We too are among
the hopeful ones  who look to the Lord
for our food in due season.
“The hand of the Lord feeds us.”

His presence is shown in the help,
nourishment, and salvation
that He shows to us.
We are  dependent
on our Lord to feed us.
Just as Jesus fed five thousand men
from a few loaves and two fish,
so Jesus provides us
with spiritual nourishment even today.

“The Lord satisfies the desire
of every living thing,”
as our psalmist says.
He opens wide his hand for us.
All we have to do is call upon him.
Our psalmist says it right –
“You Lord are near to all
who call upon you.”

We are His faithful ones,
and we praise God and give Him thanks
because of His divine attributes
of compassion and love.
And we sing this psalm
in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who shares fully in the perfection of God,
and in the works of the Father.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm Response this Sunday is,
"The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs."   
Tell of the ways you are being fed by the Lord, spiritually, and physically.

2.  Our psalmist says, "The Lord is near to all who call upon him ...."
Explain how you have reached out to the Lord and how He is present to you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, July 22, 2012

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

We are like sheep,
and we look to the Good Shepherd
to lead us beside still waters,
and guide us along the right paths.
We fear no harm,
because the Good Shepherd is at our side. 
Where else should we turn?

Our Lord restores us when we are down,
protects us with his rod and his staff
when we are threatened.
We lack nothing when we trust in the Lord.
We fear nothing,
even when our lives are at a low point
spiritually or physically.

Our eyes are opened by our trust in the Lord;
we are led out of the dark valley of sin
where we did fruitless things in secret.
Like our psalmist King David,
we are anointed with oil by the Lord,
and we make a covenant with Him.

Our trust in the Lord is rewarded.
He sends His Son to save us,
and His Spirit to live within us.
Surely goodness and mercy
will follow us all the days of our life.

“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
That promise that King David speaks of
in his final days is what Jesus died for.
Jesus reconciles us with the Father,
and when Jesus is raised up,
we too are resurrected.
Having been rescued by our Savior,
and now counted among His obedient sheep,
we are ready to do His will.
We are groomed to enter the Kingdom
and to sit at the table that God sets for us.
If we believe in Him, we too shall dwell
in the house of the Lord forever.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our Psalm speaks of the Lord as our shepherd. 
Do you believe you are one of His sheep?  What does it mean
to be counted among His flock?

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord anoints his head with oil.
Are you one of the Lord's anointed?   Describe how
the Lord is using you as one of His anointed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, July 15, 2012


Psalm 85:  9-10, 11-12, 13-14

“I will hear what God proclaims …
glory dwelling in our land.”

Our psalmist knows the importance of
listening carefully for the voice of the Lord.
We too must listen attentively for the voice
of the Lord and be careful not to miss
His presence among us. 
“I will listen for what God, the Lord, has to say.”

How do we seek Him out?
Where do we find the Lord?
We find Him when we read and study
His Word, His living Word,
as fresh now as it was thousands
of years ago.   For His Word is
as penetrating as a two edged sword,
able to separate bone from marrow;
convicting us; pointing the way to salvation;
and providing us with
an instruction manual for life.
All we have to do is follow it.

As our psalmist cries out,
“Near indeed is His salvation
to those who fear Him.”
For us Christians the Psalm
is more than a cry.
It is a promise of salvation --
the psalmist prepares the way of the Lord.

The psalmist promises that the Lord
himself will give us His benefits.
And what should we expect?
Nothing less than the coming
of the Messiah himself.
That’s what happens when
“Kindness and truth shall meet;”
when “Justice and peace shall kiss;”
when “Truth shall spring from the earth”
(when the Messiah is born).

The goodness and blessings that
the psalmist speaks of
are fulfilled in Christ.
Where else would we turn
to receive real spiritual abundance.?

For our Savior is truly
“Glory dwelling in our land.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist speaks of, 'Glory dwelling in our land;'
and says that the Lord's salvation is 'near indeed'
to those who fear him.   These verses suggest that our Savior
is close at hand and accessible to all of us who fear Him.
Describe how our Savior is present to you.

2.  The Psalm says, 'The Lord himself will give His benefits.'
Tell of the benefits you are receiving from the Lord.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, July 8, 2012


Psalm 123:  1-2, 2, 3-4

“As the eyes of  servants
are on the hands of their master,
... so are our eyes on the Lord our God.”

We are called to serve God
and to do His will, as Jesus did.
And so our eyes must be on God,
that we may know His will for us,
and that we may serve Him
and our neighbor as well.

Where else would we turn?
To be measured by men?
To get direction from anyone else?
Like Ezekiel (1st reading),
our success is measured
by doing God’s will and
following His direction in our lives.

Our psalmist says,
“We have our fill of contempt,
we have our fill of insult from the proud.”
For it is the arrogant ones
who rely only on themselves,
giving little thought to God.

Today’s Gospel tells us that
Jesus was not respected in his home town;
he was rejected
by his townspeople and neighbors.

Is that what we face from family or friends,
when we do the Lord’s work
or proclaim His Gospel?
If so, then we are united with Christ,
and like St. Paul (2nd reading),
“We can be content with insults,
hardships, persecutions and constraints …
His grace is sufficient for us.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist calls for us to fix our eyes on the Lord.  
Describe how you focus on the Lord in your faith journey.
Tell how you are able to discern God's will for your life.

2.   Our psalmist says he is fed up, having been
the object of contempt and mockery
from the arrogant ones around him.
Even Jesus was mocked in his native village.  
Tell of how you deal with insult and persecution
when you proclaim the Gospel.