Monday, January 28, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, February 3, 2013


Psalm 71: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15-17

“O my God, rescue me
from the hand of the wicked.”

This Psalm is known as a
prayer in the evening of life.
The psalmist looks back,
recalls how he has tried
to remain faithful to God,
his life’s companion.
“You are my hope, Lord;
my trust, God, from my youth.
On you I depend since birth;
From my mother’s womb
you are my strength.”


In the difficult moments of
old age, the psalmist begs God
to come to his aid, and resolves
to praise God with all his might.
“My mouth shall proclaim your
just deeds, day after day your acts
of deliverance.”


The Psalm reminds us of the words
of Jeremiah (1st reading), who says,
“Before I formed you in the womb
I dedicated you, a prophet
I appointed you.”   Jeremiah draws
strength from the Lord; God makes him
a “fortified city, a pillar of iron.”


And in the Psalm the writer pleads
with God, “Be my rock and refuge;
my stronghold to give me safety;
for you are my rock and fortress.”
In Jeremiah’s struggle against kings
and priests, he obtains assurances that
the Lord is with him to deliver him.
The Psalmist seeks the same guarantee
from God – “In your justice rescue and
deliver me.”


Just as Jesus (in the Gospel) was able
to pass through the midst of the angry
crowd that threatened him that day
in Nazareth, so too does our psalmist
call upon the Lord to save him,
“My God, rescue me from the power
of the wicked, from the clutches of the
evil and violent.”


And for us too the source of our
ability to weather those spiritual trials
that we face in our own lives comes
from the Father.  His works are mighty,
and His justice is available for the asking,
“I will speak of the mighty works of the Lord;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.”




Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our psalmist says that from his mother's womb
God was his strength.  Describe how you as a child
of God derive strength and hope from the Lord.

2.  The psalmist cries out to God to rescue him
'from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches
of the evil and violent.'  Speak of how you have been
delivered by the Lord from the clutches of the evil one.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, January 27, 2013


Psalm 19:  8, 9, 10, 15

“Let the words of my mouth and
the thoughts of my heart meet with
your favor, O Lord, my rock and
my redeemer.”

Where does the power come from
to keep us on track, to speak the
right words, think the right thoughts?
It comes from the Lord, our rock
and redeemer.  And how does it come
to us? Through the Word, the inspired
Word of God. 

It is through the Word that we know
His commandments, and through this
Psalm that we know His law is a source
of refreshment, a source of joy.  When
we follow the Lord’s commands, there
is a joy that is stirred up in our hearts.
“The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart.”

His statutes do not bind us, they set
us free.  As in the days of Ezra, the
reading of the law should not make us sad,
but be a source of rejoicing. 

If we are to imitate the divine life,
everything we need to know is found in
God’s law.  The Word is the source of
wisdom; it is where power is found.
And it is where the statutes of God
are spelled out.  

The Lord's statutes serve as our
instruction manual for life.  But they
are not just a dry set of rules that we
cannot hope to follow;
God's commandments refresh our souls.

The Word and the statutes endure forever;
They are refreshing to the soul;
They enlighten the eye;
They bring much reward.
And as Christ says in the Gospel,
the scripture is fulfilled in our hearing.
Give us ears to hear!



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is 'Your words, Lord,
are Spirit and life.'  In what way are you impacted along
your faith journey by the words of our Lord?

2.  Speak of how the Lord's commandments are useful in
carrying out the plea of our psalmist, 'Let the words of my
mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before you.'

Monday, January 14, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, January 20, 2013


Psalm 96:  1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10


“Give to the Lord the glory due his name!”

This psalm is a song of Israel,
the chosen people, brought back
from exile.  Their joy and praise
is understandable; in our 1st reading
(Isaiah) God calls them “His Delight,
His Espoused.”  No wonder they
want to “sing to the Lord a new song,”
and tell of God’s glory and His
marvelous deeds.


We are all summoned to adoration
of our sovereign God.  We are called
to give Him “glory and might, as our
psalmist says.   And we are called
to bring gifts as we enter His courts.


But no matter how precious our own
offerings may be, they are no match
for the gifts of the Spirit that each
of us receives, and which St. Paul speaks
about in our 2nd reading.  Each of us
receives these spiritual gifts individually,
and they are given through the Spirit to us
for 'some benefit.'


In this week's Gospel our Lord Jesus uses
His marvelous gifts to turn water into wine
at the wedding in Cana, and so reveals
His glory.  Even today the Lord provides
real food and real drink for us, in the
Eucharist.  What better nourishment
could there be in our lives?  As the psalm
says, we are called to be grateful and
“give to the Lord the glory due His name,”
to bow down to the Lord and to tremble
before Him.  



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist encourages us to 'Sing to the Lord a new song."
What is it about your faith that makes you want to sing praise to the Lord?

2.  The Psalm urges us to 'Proclaim His marvelous deeds to all the nations.' 
How will you go about proclaiming the Gospel to those around you in your
family and your community?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, January 13, 2013


Psalm 29:  1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10

“Bow down before the Lord's holy splendor!”


The Psalm is about the splendor and 
the power of God.   “Give to the Lord 
the glory due God’s name.  Bow down 
before the Lord’s holy splendor.”  The 
Psalm speaks of the voice of the Lord,  
“Thundering over the waters.”  “The voice 
of the Lord is power, the voice of the Lord
is splendor.”


That same awesome voice was heard
over the Jordan River that day when
the heavens were torn open and the
Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus just
after he was baptized.  What could be
more powerful than the voice of God
declaring, “This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.”


What happened at the Jordan River
that day was to fulfill what the Lord
said to Isaiah (lst reading) – “Here is
my servant whom I uphold, my chosen
one with whom I am pleased, upon whom
I have put my spirit.” 


The Lord's baptism may have
happened over 2000 years ago, but that
for us was an encouraging sign.
God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit
and power that day (2nd reading), the power
to serve the faithful (people like us), and
to do battle on our behalf with the devil.

From that time forward we too became
eligible to serve the Lord as His chosen
ones.   Isaiah tells us what our spiritual
mission is to be:   Like Jesus, we are to
be a light to the nations, and open the
eyes of the blind (those who do not know
the Lord).  And imitating Jesus, we are
to bring out prisoners from confinement
(those who may be imprisoned by sin).
What better way would there be for us
to serve the Lord?


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of the power and
splendor of the voice of the Lord, thundering over
the waters.   Have you heard God's powerful voice
speaking to you, anointing you as one of His chosen ones?  

2.  Our psalmist encourages us to give God the glory due
His holy name.  Tell of how you give God the glory in your
activities and your everyday life.