Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, January 5, 2014


Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 (Read)


 “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”

The Psalm is a prayer for our newborn King,
a Messiah who will be like the “rain coming
down upon the fields, like showers watering
the earth.”  Our psalmist prays that our
newborn King will be anointed by God with
divine judgment and empowered to rule the earth.

The prophet Isaiah in our 1st reading predicts
that the light of the Lord will cause our hearts
to overflow, and the riches of the sea to be
emptied out before us.  Our psalmist also speaks
of abundance that will flourish in the King's days.
But the Messiah is among us, to do more than
bless us materially; the Savior has come to make
our burdens easy, to share our afflictions.
“The lives of the poor He shall save.”

We see the light, just as the prophet Isaiah said
we would.  In the Psalm, the mystery is revealed
to us, poor in spirit though we are:
“He rescues the poor when they cry out [as we do],
the afflicted who have no one to help.”
This is what our Good Shepherd Jesus is sent to do,
to shepherd God’s people.  This is why we join the
Magi in paying homage to our newborn King, and
join with our psalmist in singing,
"Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm says that 'profound peace' will flower
when our newborn King arrives.   Speak of what this
verse means to you and how you gain inner peace and
strength from the arrival of our Savior.

2.  Our psalmist writes that the King will save the lives
of the poor and rescue the afflicted.   Give an example
of how you have been healed by our Lord physically,
spiritually, or emotionally.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 29, 2013


Psalm 128:  1-2, 3, 4-5 (Read)

“Blessed are those who fear
the Lord and walk in His ways.”

Our psalmist tells us that a man who
has a right relationship with the Lord
will also obtain a right relationship with
his wife and his family.  If we have a right
relationship with the Lord, we will know
how to treat our wife and our children,
and in turn, we will discover how blessed
we are in our home and by the presence of
our family.  “Just so will the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.”

And if a man walks with the Lord, this will
be reflected in the way he loves his wife.
Because if a man cherishes his wife,
as ‘flesh of his flesh' and ‘bone of his bones,’
he nourishes his relationship with her,
as Christ nourishes the Church.
And the man’s reward is that his wife will be
like a ‘fruitful vine’ within his house.  This is
how a man is blessed who fears the Lord.

Having been so favored by God,  we understand
why, 'A man shall leave his father and mother
and cleave to his wife.'  God made them one flesh,
and, 'What God has joined, no human being
may separate.'

If we fear the Lord and walk in His ways, we will
receive the blessings of our labor, prosper in a
material way, and grow old gracefully in the
company of our family.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm tells us how to gain God's favor
so that our family life will be blessed.  What does
it mean to you to fear the Lord and walk in His ways?

2.  We learn from our psalmist how to behave toward
our wife and our children.  A right relationship with our
family is obtained by having a right relationship with our Lord.
Explain how you are putting this teaching into practice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 22, 2013


Psalm 24:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (Read) 

“Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
Who can stand in His holy place?”

The psalm is about a journey to a holy place.
It is a place where we will meet the Lord.
But we are asked, “Who can ascend the
mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in
His holy place?”

During Advent we become aware that although
we may not have to climb a holy mountain to meet
the Lord, we must prepare to receive Him in
our hearts.  In fact the Psalm is guiding us to
prepare ourselves from within, so that we are
made ready to receive Him when He comes.

This is what our Advent time is about --

preparing ourselves to receive the Lord.
Just as St Paul in our 2nd reading was made ready
to receive “The grace of apostleship,” we too are
called to open our hearts to the Lord.

What must we do?
We must cleanse our hearts.
The verses of the Psalm say, “The clean of hand
and pure of heart who has not given his soul to
useless things … will receive blessings from the Lord.”
We are all unworthy to be in the Lord's presence,
but at least we can cleanse ourselves through Confession,
and bathe in the Word.  That is how we show our love
for the Lord.

The Psalm calls for the coming of the king of glory,
just as the Gospel calls for the birth of Jesus.
Who will enter His kingdom?  Our psalmist tells us
that those who love the Lord and those who seek
God's face will receive their reward from God our savior.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm Response asks us, "Let the Lord enter;
He is the king of glory."   How do you prepare yourself
during Advent so that the king of glory can enter your heart?

2.  Our psalmist speaks of a people that seeks the Lord,
that seeks the face of God.   Describe what you are doing
to seek out the Lord in your family and in your community.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 15, 2013


Psalm 146:  6-7, 8-9, 9-10 (Read)

“The Lord God keeps faith forever.”

The Psalm tells us that our long journey
of waiting and petitioning the Lord has
come to an end.  For us, then, the Psalm
is about the time of Advent, when the
promises of Isaiah (1st reading) and the
other prophets are fulfilled.  The coming
of Jesus means for us that we who are
afflicted will be set free; we who are hungry
will receive real food.

Why do we trust in God and not princes of
this world?  Because, “The Lord God keeps
faith forever; He gives food to the hungry.”
Who among us is not hungry for a closer
relationship with The Lord?

And, “The Lord gives sight to the blind.”
Our eyes are opened when we enter the kingdom.
St James tells us in our 2nd reading that our
patience will be rewarded, and the psalm confirms
this, “The Lord raises up those who are bowed
down.” We are raised up with the Lord Jesus.

Our psalmist sings about God's promises to the
oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner, the blind,
and those who are bowed down in one way or
another.  We could all benefit by being set free
in the Spirit or healed, so that we are no longer
blinded.   Then we too would no longer be lame,
but would be able to leap like a stag as the
prophet Isaiah promises.

And how are the promises of the psalmist fulfilled? 
Where else but in the healing ministry of Jesus,
as the Gospel tells us.  Who else has the grace
and the mercy to heal us?

Advent is our time to be joyful.  The coming of
the Messiah opens up a new time for us, a time
of promise.  We can celebrate with our psalmist,
“The Lord shall reign forever; your God, Zion,
through all generations!  Hallelujah!”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of a hopeful time when our God
will come and save us.  Tell of what it means to you to trust in
the Lord, to be set free, and to be raised up.

2.  Our psalmist promises that the Lord will give food to the
hungry.  Speak of your hunger for a closer relationship with the
Lord, and how you expect to receive real food this Advent.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 8, 2013


Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (Read)

“May He rule from sea to sea, and
from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Our psalmist (Solomon) speaks about a
perfect king – a king who judges like God,
governs His people with justice, His afflicted
with right judgment.  The psalm's verses speak
of a king that is to live as long as the sun endures,
like the moon through all generations.

The more we read the Psalm, the more it tells us
about the Messiah to come – “May all kings bow
before him, all nations serve him.” He is to fulfill
all the hopes placed upon Him by the prophets.
And, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,”
as Isaiah says beautifully in this Sunday's 1st reading.

Only the expected Messiah can receive from God
the wisdom and judgment to govern the people with
justice.  The Messiah brings great prosperity and
rules the promised land from sea to sea.

The Psalm's verses recall for us our Savior's
promises, to rescue us when we cry out and save us
when we are oppressed.  He lifts us up when we are
poor in spirit.

We see the light -- the Messiah is revealed to us Christians
as Christ our King.  “May His name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun His name shall remain.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  This Sunday's Psalm speaks of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

who is to be endowed by God as a just King.   Describe how you will
make room for the Lord in your life so that He may govern how you conduct 

yourself this Advent season.

2.  Our psalmist writes about the profound peace that will flourish when the 

Messiah arrives.   Tell of how you will receive the Lord's peace during Advent 
and how this will affect your life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 1, 2013


Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)

“I rejoiced when they said to me,
'Let us go up to the house of the Lord.” 

This Sunday we revisit this Psalm that
sings of a spiritual journey to the house
of the Lord, the holy city of Jerusalem.
In our 1st reading the prophet Isaiah also
speaks about a journey to Zion, to the house
of God, His holy mountain.  We too are called
to make that same journey, that we may walk
in His paths.  Our psalmist says, “Our feet
are standing within your gates, Jerusalem.”

But why are we called to make that journey?
Firstly, we stand with the Israelites who already
dream of gathering together at some future time.
But secondly, for us as Christians the psalm is a
vision of the end times, when our spiritual
pilgrimage leads us from earth to heaven.

Our psalmist says we are called to give thanks
to the name of the Lord, but we note also there
are set up judgment seats at our destination.
For our journey ends where God resides, His
kingdom of heaven, and we must be prepared
to be in His presence.  St Paul in our 2nd reading
cautions us to throw off the works of darkness,
and to put on the armor of light, to conduct
ourselves properly as in the day, to put on the
Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself says in this
Sunday's Gospel (Matthew 24:44), “You must
be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Jerusalem in the Psalm symbolizes for us the
end of our journey, being present with the Lord.
This is what God has planned for His people:
When we arrive in God's holy city, the kingdom
of God will come to us in its fullness, and we will
live in peace.  As the psalmist tells us, we will be
filled with a desire to say, “I will pray for your good,”
“Peace be within you.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  As we begin a new season of Advent, the Psalm 

encourages us to be prepared for the time when we 
will be in God's kingdom and He will be present to us.  
Speak about what you are doing to prepare yourself 
to be in God's holy city.

2.  As we prepare to receive the Prince of Peace within 

our midst, our psalmist asks us to pray for peace within 
the walls of the holy city and within ourselves.  What are 
you doing to ensure that you have peace within you and 
how are you conveying your peace to others around you?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 24, 2013


Psalm 122:  1-2, 3-4, 4-5 (Read)

“We will go up to the house of the Lord.”

The Psalm is about a pilgrimage to the holy
city of Jerusalem.   “Let us go to the house
of the Lord.” And for us it may also be about
a spiritual journey that we must embark
upon if we are to enter the Lord’s kingdom
and be present to the King of Kings.

For us the way is clear – we have only to
follow God’s beloved son, our Savior.
For just as God chose David to be the
shepherd for His chosen people (2 Samuel),
so God chose his son Jesus to lead us to
redemption (Collossians).  And as St Paul says,
the Father saw to it that we would be transferred
to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

 The gate is narrow, but as the psalmist says,
“And now our feet are standing within your
gates, Jerusalem.”  Now we too have a share
in Christ’s inheritance.

And what draws us to make the journey
through the narrow gate?  We seek to be with
the Lord, just as the thief on His right did (St Dismas)
when he said, “Jesus, remember me when you
come into your kingdom.” (Gospel of Luke)
The Lord replied, “Today you will be with me
in Paradise.”

This is our goal, too – to complete that pilgrimage
that the psalmist speaks about, to reach that
holy city where are the “thrones of justice, the
thrones of the house of David.”

Jerusalem in the Psalm symbolizes for us
the end of our journey, being present with the Lord.
This is what God has planned for His people.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm speaks of a journey to the Lord's kingdom. 
 What progress are you making along the way on your own 
 journey to the Lord's holy city?

2.  The psalmist mentions that he has set foot within the gates
of Jerusalem.  Describe your decision to walk the walk and go

through the narrow gate that leads to redemption and a share in 
our Lord's inheritance.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 17, 2013

Psalm 98:  5-6, 7-8, 9 (Read)

“The Lord comes to govern the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.”

The Psalm is about the coming of God,
and the promise is made that when the Lord
comes, he will govern the earth with justice.

Scripture teaches us that we do not know when
the Lord will come, and we are warned to be ready
because it may happen like a thief in the night.
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus speaks about the
day of judgment, when awesome sights and mighty
signs will come from the sky and when the disciples
will be hated by all because of His name.

Although the Psalm is about the joy of the Lord’s
coming, there may be reason for anxiety on our part.
The Book of Malachi warns us that the day is coming
when evildoers will be set on fire and become stubble.

Should we be afraid of the Lord’s judgment?
One thing is sure—we need to be ready, to prepare
to face the arrival of God.   We do not know when that
day may come;  some in our generation doubt that
day will come at all.   For those who have put their
trust in the Lord, and attempted to apply His teachings
toward others they meet in the course of their day,
there will be rejoicing and praise.  For others who
have slacked off and found fault with their neighbors
and have not lifted a helping hand, shame and destruction
may be at hand.  After all, we are called to be caregivers;
we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

“The Lord comes to govern the earth.”
We may not always welcome someone who comes
to rule over us.  Or to judge us.  But the Lord brings
His “healing rays.”   He is after all the “sun of justice.”
The Book of Malachi assures us that if we fear the Lord,
“The sun of justice will arise with its healing rays.”

There is hope for us, as we struggle not to be idle,
and face those who hate us because of our faith.
Our Lord liberates us from whatever holds us back
or drags us down.  And we kick up our heels like
“calves being released from the stall.”

The Psalm repeatedly tells us to be joyful about
the Lord’s coming; to sing praise to the Lord;
to shout with joy to the Lord.  We join with our
surroundings, “Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks about the Day of the Lord,
when He will come to rule the earth with justice.
Are you ready for the Lord's coming?   Speak about
how you are preparing for it.

2.  Our psalmist writes about those who dwell
in the world shouting for joy before the Lord,
when He comes to rule the earth.   Explain how you
will sing praise to the Lord and sing joyfully before
the King, the Lord.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 10, 2013


Psalm 17:  1, 5-6, 8, 15 (Read)

“Hear, O Lord a just suit;                                                        

attend to my outcry.”
We all may have been unjustly attacked
at one time or another, as our psalmist
David was, and as were the seven brothers
in Maccabees.  When that happens, where
do we hide?  Where do we take refuge?

Who else but the Lord stands ready to
console us, protect us “in the shadow of
His wings?”   Our psalmist reminds us
that without God we can do nothing,
and it is He who empowers us to prevail.

And so we trust God, as David does;
we call upon Him, and we cling to Him. 
We are not hesitant to call upon His name,
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.”   
For His part, God keeps us as the “apple of
His eye.”   He attends to our outcry;
He hearkens to our prayers, so long as
our lips are without deceit.

And when we face death, whose face do we
want to see?  It is the Lord's -- “Let me see
your face;  when I awake, let me be filled
with your presence.”  Who else has promised
us eternal life? 

We must not be afraid to trust God for the
outcome.  All we have to do is to keep to His
paths, as our psalmist says.  Our feet do not falter.
As David did, we call upon the Lord.
As was true for David, we shall be content in
His presence. 



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that his steps have kept to
the Lord's paths, his feet have not faltered.   Explain how
you have 'walked the walk' in the pathways of the Lord.

2.  The Psalm speaks of how we shall be content in God's
presence.   Tell of what it means to you to look forward
to the day when you shall behold God's face.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 3, 2013


Psalm 145:  1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14 (Read)

“The Lord lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.”                                             

We may question why God allows us to suffer,
why he allows “bad things to happen to good people.”
We may ask, as the early believers probably did,
“Why is it necessary to undergo such hardships
to enter the kingdom of God?”

Scripture tells us that afflictions are to be
expected in our walk with the Lord.  We may not
understand what God is up to, but we can be sure
that our faith will be strengthened if we stand fast
in the face of suffering.  We will become better
witnesses for Christ if we are humbled; we become
better servants if we bear up with our difficulties
and trust in the Lord.  As our psalmist tells us, 
“The Lord is trustworthy in every word, and
faithful in every work.”

Endurance is a Godly quality and will help us
to get 'yoked' to Jesus.   Having done that, together
with our psalmist David, we join with the faithful
and speak of the glory of God's reign and bless
His name.

The book of Wisdom tells us that God loves all
things He has created, and loathes nothing He
has made.  David says it this way, “The Lord is
good to all and compassionate toward all His works.”
This verse is fulfilled in Sunday's Gospel –
Zacchaeus could just as well sing this psalm,
“I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.”

When we reflect on what God has done for us,
we remember that we live our lives amidst an
unending stream of divine love.  God has always
done good things for us.  That is God's nature –
as the Psalm says, “The Lord is gracious and merciful
and of great kindness.”

And so we pray this psalm to bless, praise, and exalt
the heavenly Father in His perfection and in His works.
“Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist asks us (His faithful ones) to speak of
God's might and discourse of the glory of God's kingdom.
Give an example of how you have complied with our psalmist's appeals.

2.  We are assured by the Psalm that the Lord lifts up all
who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.  Share
how your faith has been strengthened by any hardships you
may have undergone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, October 27, 2013


Psalm 34:  2-3, 17-18, 19, 23 (Read)

“Those who are crushed in spirit He saves.”

 David's psalm reassures us,
“The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”
The word poor is said to apply to one
who depends completely on God
for his deliverance and his very life.
This is true for David as he is being
pursued by his enemy.  It is true for us
in our own personal battle against the
evil one.  With God on our side victory
is certain.  “The Lord confronts the
evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them
from the earth.”

St Paul is rescued from the lion's mouth and
is empowered by the Lord to finish the race,
to keep the faith, to complete the proclamation.
In his own words, “The Lord stood by me and
gave me strength.”  (Sunday's 2nd reading)
David affirms this, “The Lord redeems the lives
of His servants; no one incurs guilt who takes
refuge in Him.”

The Psalm says our prayers are heard if we have
a right relationship with the Lord, “When the just
cry out, the Lord hears them.”  This is confirmed
by the writer of Sirach (Sunday's 1st reading) --
“The one who serves God willingly is heard; his
petition reaches the heavens.  The prayer of the lowly
pierces the clouds.”

Jesus teaches us in this Sunday’s Gospel, “The one
who humbles himself will be exalted.”   The tax
collector preserves his relationship with God and
goes home justified.  That too is part of being poor
in spirit.   If we want the Lord to be on our side,
then we need to humble ourselves and recognize
our own lowly status.

And having done all that we can to keep a just
relationship with our God, then we are to bless the
Lord at all times, keep his praise ever in our mouths,
and as the psalm says, “Let my soul glory in the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm tells us that God lifts up those who are crushed

in spirit.   However difficult it may be for us to be humble in spirit, 
we can speak of how gratifying it is for us to depend solely on
the Lord for our salvation.   Tell of what this means to you personally.

2.   The verses of the Psalm tell us how to be sure that our prayers 

are heard.  Our psalmist encourages us to have a right relationship 
with the Lord before we pray.  What is it that you do to be sure that 
your prayers reach the ears of the Lord?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, October 20, 2013


Psalm 121:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 (Read)

“Our help is from the Lord.”


The Psalm is a prayer for believers
when we are uncertain, when we face
the dangers of this world, or when we
encounter obstacles on our journey of
faith and works.

Where does our help come from?
As our psalmist says, it comes from the Lord.
Just as Moses raised up his hands and
obtained God's intervention on the side
of  Israel (Sunday's 1st reading), so too the psalm
calls for us to look upward for God’s help,
“I lift up my eyes toward the mountains.”
And our psalmist reminds us, “The Lord is your
guardian.”  We are obliged to pray, “May He not
suffer our foot to slip.”

We may rest assured that our Lord sends us the Holy
Spirit to safeguard us, and we give thanks that our
protector is a guard who never falls asleep at his post,
nor is He ever off duty.  “May He slumber not who
guards you, indeed He neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

When we do battle with evil or injustice,
who can we turn to?   Are we likely to overcome
the powers and principalities that threaten us
along the road by depending on our puny defenses?
Not so the psalm reminds us.  Without the Lord as our
shade we are subject to the sun's harmful rays
and the moon's evil influences.   But if we trust
in the Lord,  “The Lord will guard you from all evil.”

But how do we get God’s attention when we need
His help?  Jesus tells us how in the Gospel –
we are to pray with persistence, without becoming
weary,  like the widow who obtains a just decision
from the unwilling judge.   And as the Psalm concludes,
if our faith is strong, and we trust in the Lord,
“The Lord will guard our coming and going,
both now and forever.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that the Lord is beside you
at your right hand.   Speak of what it is that reassures
you of the Lord's protection on your journey.

2.  The Psalm is about the power of prayer and of
trust in the Lord.  Give an example of how you
have persisted in prayer and obtained the Lord's help
in overcoming difficulty.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, October 13, 2013


Psalm 98:  1, 2-3, 3-4 (Read) 

“Sing to the Lord a new song.”  


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, and because God's saving
power has been revealed to all the nations, we are
all encouraged to “break into song, sing praise.”


“The Lord's right hand and holy arm have won
the victory.”  It is clear from this Sunday's readings
that God's healing power is not limited to the Israelites.
In our 1st reading (2 Kings) the Syrian army commander
Naaman is healed in the land of Yahweh.  


And in our 2nd reading (2 Timothy) St Paul reminds us
that the 'word of God is not chained' and that if we
persevere and die with Christ, we too will be counted
among the living, the chosen ones.   


Then in the Gospel, God's saving power is made
available to a grateful Samaritan, who is the only
one healed that has learned to sing the new song,
glorifying God in a loud voice and falling at the feet
of Jesus in thanksgiving.


God's salvation flows out to all people, whether they
be soldiers from foreign lands, lepers, or those imprisoned. 
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. 
As the Psalm says, “Shout with joy to the Lord, sing praise.”   



Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our Psalmist declares, "The Lord has revealed to the nations
His saving power."  Tell of how the Lord has revealed to you 

personally His saving power.
2.  The Psalm urges us to "Sing to the Lord a new song."   Speak of
what it means to you to have learned the 'new song' of praising and
worshiping the one true God.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, October 6, 2013


Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)

"Oh that today you would hear His voice."


Knowing God's will is hard enough;
discernment is a gift from God.
But even if we are gifted enough to
be able to discern God 's will,
can we have the courage and conviction
to actually do His will?   Today more than
ever we need to hear His voice.  As God the
Father said, “This is my beloved Son
with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”

In the Gospel, Jesus instructs the disciples
how to do all they have been commanded.  

As followers of Jesus, we too are to do all 
that we are obliged to do.

Doing the will of God must have been
difficult even for the disciples, hand picked
by our Lord himself.  How much more so is
the will of God a challenge for ordinary
persons like us?  Even the disciples must
have been in awe of what Jesus was
commanding them to do.

“Harden not your hearts.”
Our spiritual history is full of occasions
where the faithful were known to have
hardened their hearts and refused to listen
to God's voice, though they had seen
His works, as our psalmist mentions.
But after all, He is our God, as the psalm says,
and we are the people he shepherds.

Our job is to kneel before the Lord who
made us and to carry out His will the best
we can.   And if we are careful to listen
to His voice, He will empower us to do
His will, just as Jesus empowered the
disciples to rise up to the challenge of
the great commission and to become ordinary
men performing extraordinary deeds.


Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts
when we hear God's voice.   Do you find it difficult sometimes
to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe
He is speaking to you?   Give an example.

2.  The psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is
our shepherd.   Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among
His flock?  If so, what does it mean to you to be shepherded
by the Lord?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, September 29, 2013


Psalm 146:  7, 8-9, 9-10 (Read)

“The Lord gives food to the hungry,
sets captives free.”


Christ Jesus carries out the promises of the Psalm; He sets us captives free and gives sight to us so we can truly see.

The Lord raises us up when we are down. He sustains us -- with real food and drink. Who among us is not hungry for a closer relationship with The Lord?  

You may ask, “When were we oppressed,
or hungry, or in prison?”  Have we not
been under pressure from the evil one
to commit sin?  Have we not been held
captive at one time or another by our sins?
And do we not experience a hunger for
the Lord and for a deeper faith?


That same power that gives sight to the
blind and raises up those who are bowed
down is available to free us from whatever
imprisons us.  All it takes is to receive Him
and open our hearts to our Savior.

The Psalm is telling us we really need
to humble ourselves if we want to be
raised up with Jesus.  That may be hard
to do if it means we have to swallow our pride
and put aside worldly concerns.   But if we truly
want to be set free from the sins that bind us,
then we need to repent and bow down
before the Lord, accept our brokenness,
and seek His healing ministry.  Only then
will we begin to have a right relationship
with the Lord.


Having done so, we can pray this Psalm,
not only in honor of the heavenly Father,
but also in honor of Christ Jesus, whom
God exalted.  We then join with the psalmist
and sing, “The Lord shall reign forever;
our God, through all generations.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist assures us that the Lord gives food 
to the hungry.   Describe how your spiritual hunger
is satisfied by the nourishment you receive from God.

2.  The Psalm says that the Lord thwarts the way of 
the wicked.   Reflect on your experience and give an 
example of how the Lord has overcome evil that was 
a threat to you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, September 22, 2013

Psalm 113:  1-2, 4-6, 7-8 (Read)


“He raises up the lowly from the dust.”

This Psalm teaches us once again that
our God, who is at once exalted above
all men, is willing to stoop low and to raise
us up to His own level.   God reverses common
wisdom, and we who are called His servants
are lifted up out of the dung heap of life and
treated as royalty in His kingdom.


“Who is like the Lord, our God, who is enthroned
on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth
below.”   It is God's nature to seek out the lowly
and the afflicted ones of this world, and who is to say
that we are not all afflicted?


Christ Jesus shows an amazing ability to bring up
to His level the outcast of society – the poor, the
lowly, the barren.  Often criticized for eating and
drinking with sinners, our Savior shows us how
to behave toward our neighbors, to understand
the it is the sick who need a physician.


Jesus' behavior is in sharp contrast to the conduct
of the merchants described in our 1st reading (Amos 8).
They have undisguised contempt for the poor whom
they are exploiting.   But Jesus reminds us that the
poor have a divine and powerful advocate.   The
compassion of our Lord reaches down to those
whom the powerful of the earth regard as nothing.
Jesus devotes his spiritual wealth and loving attention
not to those who can give something in return, but to
those whom the world disregards.  


With such a loving God in our midst, we are inspired
to become like Him, and to join with our psalmist and
sing praise to our God, and praise his name.



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm reminds us that the Lord on high
reaches down to our
human level to lift us up.
How can it be that our God, who is exalted above
all nations, is willing to stoop to our lowly level
and show concern for us?

2.  What does it mean when our psalmist says
that God raises up the lowly from the dust and
seats them with princes?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, September 15, 2013

Psalm 51:  3-4, 12-13, 17, 19 (Read)


“A clean heart create for me, O God.”

We are shown in the Psalm that although David 
was chosen by God to be king, even David sins gravely.
David is sincerely sorry for having committed adultery 

and murder, two grievous sinful acts which separated 
him from our loving Father.  He pleads with the Lord, 
"Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your 
abundant compassion blot out my offense."  We are 
reminded here that no sin is too big for God to forgive.  

Just as Moses trusted God to relent in His wrath against 
the Israelites (Exodus 32:11), we too trust in the Lord to be 
far more forgiving than we ourselves are capable of.  
And when we do fall into deep patterns of sin, we must 
realize that our wrongdoing ultimately, is a rebellion 
against the Lord himself.  David’s sins, like our own, 
are offensive to God first and foremost –
we are all born of a sinful nature.

David prays words of repentance that recall for us the 
power of the Sacrament of Confession. “A clean heart 
create for me, O God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.”  
The Lord is the source of cleanliness and purity of heart. 

God wants to have a close relationship with us, but 
unconfessed sin will always get in the way. We must
confess our sins openly and sincerely. Where else 
can we turn when we are separated from God?  Who else 
has the healing power to cleanse us?  David reminds us 
that without the Holy Spirit we are ruled by the desires of 
this world.  “Do not drive me from your presence, nor take 
from me your Holy Spirit.”

We can almost hear David’s loud cries and see his tears, 
as he offers this prayerful psalm and seeks his own 
inner renewal.  And just as David is profoundly grateful 
for God's compassion,so too St. Paul acknowledges 
God's mercy in this Sunday's 2nd reading (1 Timothy 1:13).

When we receive the Sacrament of Confession, we also 
are given an opportunity to be restored in the joy of His 
Salvation, to offer up what is dead within us, so that like 
the prodigal son in the Gospel we can return to the Father 
and again be good witnesses for the Lord.  “I will rise and 
go to my father.”(Luke 15:18)

Once we have regained a solid foundation with God the Father, 
no strong assault from satan will overcome us.  We can have that 
very same "steadfastness of spirit" that David asks for and 
receives from the Lord. 


Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our Psalm is King David's mea culpa,his personal 
confession to God.   Speak of how the verses of the Psalm 
inspire you to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
2.  Our psalmist pleas with the Lord not to take from him God's 
Holy Spirit.   Tell of how you also rely on the Spirit in your daily life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, September 8, 2013

Psalm 90: 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17 (Read)

“You turn man back to dust.”

Our Psalmist describes us humans
as miserable creatures, whose lives are
dismally brief.   We are like the “changing
grass, which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.” 
What hope is there for us humans
whose lives are cut short in our sleep? 
Our sinful nature incurs the righteous
anger of the Lord.  “The corruptible body
burdens the soul.” (1st reading) 
What are we to do?


We are to take refuge in the Lord,
as the Psalm says.  We are to pray that
we may gain wisdom of heart, as our
Psalmist says.   We are to ask for God's
favor in our lives.  We are to humble
ourselves and to learn to fill our limited
days by doing the Lord's will in our lives.
However fleeting our lives, we pray that God
will “prosper the work of our hands,” that
we will know the will of God and act upon it.


We are to pray through the dark night that
God will fill us at daybreak with his kindness,
for this will be the day of our salvation.
We are to have a right relationship with
the Lord, believe in His Son, who took upon
Himself our weak human form, so that
we would know what it means to bear our
cross as He did for us.  Christ took on the
earthen shelter of human flesh in order to
show us how to let go of it.


It is no accident that older believers are
counted among those who attend daily Mass. 
For as they approach the end of their brief lives
on earth, their days more and more are filled
with the hope of being part of God's kingdom forever. 
All of us look forward to the day when we may
sing for joy in God's presence and be filled with
the love of the Lord.   As the Psalm says, “May the
gracious care of the Lord our God be ours forever.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  The Psalm speaks of 'numbering our days aright.'  
What are you doing to make your days on earth count
for something in the eyes of the Lord?
2.  Our Psalm carries a strong message that our human
lives are fleeting but that God is eternal.  How are you 
preparing to be in God's presence forever?