Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, September 2, 2012


Psalm 15:  2-3, 3-4, 4-5

“The one who does justice
will live in the presence of the Lord.”

Just as Moses tells the Israelites
how to take possession
of the promised land (1st reading),
so our psalmist tells us how
we may climb the holy mountain of God
and live in the presence of the Lord. 

The way forward is twofold --
love neighbor, and love God.  
If I truly love the Lord,
then my heart will not be far from Him.   
If I love the Lord, He will remain in me;
how else would I expect my heart
to remain pure?  
When my heart is pure,
I do no harm to my fellow man;
and I think the truth in my heart. 

St. James tells us to be doers
of the word (2nd reading); 
we are to keep ourselves 
unstained by the world.  
And Jesus reminds us
in the Gospel that it all starts
from inside; it is from within
our hearts that evil thoughts reside. 
The things that come out from within
are what defile us.

So if I am right with the Lord
and my heart is close to Him,
then I will not slander with my tongue
nor take up a reproach against 
my neighbor.   Nor will I do harm
economically to my neighbor.  
If I do these things, as our psalmist says,
I shall never be disturbed,
and I will live in the presence of the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist says whoever thinks the truth in his heart
will live in the presence of the Lord.   How do you go about
preparing your heart so that you are able to receive the Lord?

2.  The verses of the Psalm remind us not to slander,
nor to blame our neighbor, nor to harm our fellow man,
nor to hurt him economically.   Explain how being a doer
of the word is inspired by your love of the Lord.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, August 26, 2012


Psalm 34:  2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

Once again we revisit this psalm
of thanksgiving.  And for the third
consecutive Sunday the Gospel
challenges us to stop murmuring
and stand up for our faith.

And the question is the same,
“Do I truly believe that Jesus
is the living bread that came down
out of heaven and that whoever eats
His flesh and drinks His blood will
remain in Him and will live forever?” 

Like Joshua, am I prepared to take
a stand and declare,  “As for me
and my household we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua commits himself and his family
to serve the Lord.  What better commitment
would there be for me, in our time?

Where would I go if I did not serve
the Lord?   To whom would I turn
without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
I thirst for Jesus and would be parched
and dry without Him in my life.
I must stop murmuring about
how difficult it may be to accept His words
and declare that Jesus is truly the Holy One of God.
Who else would hear my cry,
as our psalmist says, or confront
evildoers on my behalf ?

 “Many are the troubles of the just,
but the Lord delivers them all.”
We are all afflicted; our Spirit
may be crushed (as the psalmist says),
but “God watches over all our bones.”

“When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.”
Who else would listen to my cry?
If I cry out to the Lord, He will hear me
and rescue me from all distress.
Where else would I turn?

I have the Lord as my ally
in my fight against the evil one.
And with Him on my side victory is certain.
“The Lord confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.”

So the teaching is clear – 
“Let His praise be ever in my mouth,
and let my soul glory in the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  If we truly serve the Lord, we can be confident
that 'He will watch over all our bones', as the Psalmist says.
Explain how your faith has given you peace and strength
in the face of your afflictions.

2.  We are engaged in a spiritual battle with the evil one
and his helpers, but our Psalmist says that the Lord
will confront evildoers and destroy them.  Tell of how
you have been able to defeat evil with the Lord on your side.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, August 19, 2012


Psalm 34:  2-3, 4-5, 6-7

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

We visit this encouraging psalm
again this Sunday perhaps because
the Lord wants us to participate fully
in the Eucharist and we need to
hear it again.  Why are the same verses
repeated?  Perhaps because they reinforce
so well the powerful message of the Gospel,
in which Jesus tells us that if we are
to be raised up with Him, we must eat
of His flesh and drink of His blood.
Perhaps because we struggle with
what Jesus says, as the Jews did at the time.
We are told that even the disciples
had difficulty accepting Jesus' words.

The message is simple, as our psalmist
reminds us – we must taste the goodness
of the Lord if we are to truly allow our soul
to glory in the Lord.  Wisdom invites us too
to obtain life by eating of her food in our 1st reading.
And St. Paul (2nd reading) cautions us
not to get drunk on wine, but be filled
with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms.

We are to feed on Jesus if we are to have life;
if we eat His flesh and drink His blood,
we will live forever.  It is His humanity
that enables us to eat of His flesh and His blood. 
And it is by the grace of God that we are thus
able to obtain a share in His divinity.  
This is far more that our ancestors' manna. 
This is truly the bread of life.

By sharing in His body and blood,
we glorify the Lord, and as our psalmist says,
we become 'radiant with joy.'
Our faces no longer blush with shame;
we are a new creation.  The Lord is among us. 
We remain in Him and He remains in us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm reminds us of the power of
the Eucharist.  We must taste the goodness of the Lord
if we want to be delivered from all our fears.  Speak of
how the Eucharist raises you up physically and spiritually.

2.  Our psalmist encourages us to 'glorify the Lord' and
to 'let our soul glory in the Lord.'   Explain how your faith
has enabled you to draw closer to God by being filled
with the Spirit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Psalm for Sunday, August 12, 2012


Psalm 34:  2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

What does Jesus tell us to do in this week’s Gospel?
Taste his flesh and see that we will have life.
However difficult Jesus’ words may have been
for the Jews to accept (or for us), 
the psalmist is right  --
“Blessed the man who takes refuge in Him.”
Where else would we turn when we are in distress?
“When the afflicted man called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.”
Just as the Lord answered Elijah
and delivered him from his despair,
so He delivers us from whatever
has bogged us down spiritually.

“My soul will glory in the Lord,
that the poor may hear and be glad.”
The word poor is said to apply to one
who depends completely on God
for his deliverance and his very life.
That’s where Elijah stood that day
in the early stages of his long journey,
totally dependent on God for the strength
to walk the walk that was planned
for him (1st reading).
And if the truth were to be known,
that’s where we stand even today,
when we are short of endurance
along our spiritual journey.

The psalmist recounts for us
how he gained deliverance,
“I sought the Lord, who answered me,
delivered me from all my fears.”
Despite the anguish in the psalmist’s voice,
there is also a powerful, joyful spirit –
“Look to God that you may be radiant with joy,
And your faces may not blush with shame.”

Where does our joy come from?
How do we obtain a joyful spirit?
It comes from repenting and returning to the Lord.
Only then can we be embraced by the Lord.
Having humbled ourselves before Him,
confessed our sins, He takes us back.

He watches for us each day,
encouraging us.   He reconciles us
and restores us in a right relationship with the Father.
And He provides the inner strength we need
to complete our own spiritual journey.


 Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist tells us how to obtain a joyful spirit,
"Look to the Lord that you may be radiant with joy."
Describe how the Lord has given you inner joy in the
course of relieving you from your afflictions.

2.  The Psalm says that the angel of the Lord 'encamps'
around those who fear Him and delivers them.  
Speak of how your faith has been a source of strength and deliverance
in the face of difficulty or persecution.