Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, May 5, 2013


Psalm 67:  2-3, 5-6, 8

“May God be gracious to us and bless us;
may God's face shine upon us.”


So much that God does for us is contained
in this opening verse of the Psalm.  God gives
us His grace through His son Jesus, who is
our Savior.  And we all want God’s blessings as
the Psalm says.  Since the time of Moses,
God’s chosen people have reached out for
God’s blessings.


God gives us material blessings –
all our treasure and gifts are from Him.
And thankfully, He gives us spiritual blessings
as well – as St. Paul tells us, to each individual
the manifestation of the spirit is given for
some benefit.  


No wonder that we Gentiles were attracted
to the faith, when St. Paul and Barnabas
were traveling through the towns and visiting
the early churches.  And what could be better
than to have God's face shine upon us, as the
psalmist says.  We have a hint of what the
radiance of God's face may be like in
our 2nd reading, where St. John speaks of
the light of God's glory that shines in the
city of heaven.  


By ministering to the Gentiles the 'way' of
the Lord became known upon earth among
all the nations, as the Psalm says.  Indeed the
Psalm  predicts that God’s saving power shall
be known among all the peoples.  Thankfully,
that includes us.


Today we join with our psalmist and the members
of the early church in praising God –
“May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our psalmist asks that God will let His face shine
upon us.   Tell of how you have felt the radiance of
God when He is present to you.

2.  The Psalm prays that the Lord's 'way' be known among
all nations.   What have you done personally to encourage
others to follow the 'way' of the Lord? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, April 28, 2013

Psalm 145:  8-9, 10-11, 12-13


“The Lord is good to all and
compassionate toward all his works.”


When we reflect on what God has
done for us, we remember that 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.


Our psalmist dwells on the everlasting
nature of God, on his love and presence
throughout all time, and we are called
to praise the Lord forever.  Our psalmist
reminds us, “The Lord is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.”
We know this inherently because we live
our lives with an unending stream of divine love.


There are times when 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?”


Afflictions go hand in hand 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 as we are humbled.
We become better servants if we bear up
with our difficulties and trust in the Lord,
as our psalmist tells us.  


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



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   The Psalm says, 'Let all your works give you
thanks, O Lord.'    Are you one of His works?   Tell
of how you give thanks to the Lord and bless Him
as one of His faithful ones.

2.   Our psalmist speaks of the everlasting nature of
God's divine love.   Describe how God's love has helped
you to overcome hardship and get 'yoked' to Jesus.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, April 21, 2013


Psalm 100: 1-2, 3, 5

“Know that the Lord is God, whose people we are,
God's well tended flock.”

The Psalm begins with a call for us
to 'sing joyfully to the Lord.'  That
same joyful spirit filled St. Paul and
his companions when they began
their ministry to the Gentiles that day
in Antioch.  And their ministry has
become our ministry – we are called
to 'worship the Lord with cries of gladness;
come before Him with joyful song.'

We are like sheep, and we need someone
to look after us so that we don't go astray.
What could be better than to have Jesus
as our Good Shepherd?  We are His lambs;
we hear His voice; He knows us; and we
follow Him.

As our psalmist says, we belong to God.
And God has given us to his Son.  No one
can take us out of His hand, as the Gospel
tells us.  We are a well tended flock indeed.

As His sheep, we hear His voice,  we follow
Him, and we praise Him because, 'Good indeed
is the Lord, His love endures forever, His
faithfulness lasts through every age.'


Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  There is something comforting about being shepherded by
our Lord Jesus.  Our psalmist says we are 'the flock He tends.'
Speak of how you feel to be one of His sheep.

2.  The Psalm tells us to 'serve the Lord with gladness.'   Give an
example of how you are serving Him with a joyful spirit.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, April 14, 2013


Psalm 30: 2, 4-6, 11-13

“At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.”


This is a Psalm that Jesus himself might
have prayed, following his resurrection --
“I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.”


Our Lord Jesus himself was raised up
from the pit by the Father, even though
He bore the weight of our sins.
“Lord you brought me up from Sheol;
you let me live, from going down to the pit.”


God’s anger over the sins of all men,
that Christ took upon himself, lasted
but a moment -- “Divine anger lasts
but a moment; divine favor lasts a lifetime.”


The Psalm speaks to us as we take part
in the joy of Easter.  The joy of the 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.”


The Psalm concludes with praise that is
worthy of the Lamb, and recalls for us the
voices of the angels that John speaks of in
our 2nd reading:  “O Lord, my God, forever
will I give you thanks.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our psalmist says that God's anger lasts but a moment,
while His favor lasts a lifetime.   Give an example of how
you have been blessed by God's favor after having fallen
away for a time.

2.  The Psalm speaks of changing our mourning
into dancing.   Tell of how the resurrection of our Lord
has lifted you up and brought within you a rejoicing of the spirit.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, April 7, 2013


Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24

“I was hard pressed and falling,
but the Lord came to me as savior.”

Once again we visit this powerful psalm
of praise and thanksgiving.  This time the
verses stress the enduring love that God
has for us – so much so that despite the part
we played in crucifying his Son, God went
ahead and carried out His plan to save us.
Jesus’ risen presence among us is living
proof of God’s enduring love.
“God’s mercy endures forever.”

We may be 'hard pressed and falling,' or
we may be spiritually sick and weakened
by sin.  Are we really any different from
those Dr. Luke speaks of in our 1st reading,
any less desperate or in need of the Lord's
healing power and presence in our lives? 

Fortunately the Lord comes to us as Savior,
as our psalmist says.  And the Lord is present
to us when we are frightened, as he was present
to those frightened disciples in the upper room.
Who would have been more hard pressed and
falling than they were before Jesus appeared
to them and blessed them and extended his
peace to them?  That same source of strength
and might the psalmist speaks of  is available to us –
all we have to do is believe and open our hearts
to receive his saving grace.  

As the psalmist says, the Lord is our strength.
He is present to us,  just as He was in those early
days of the church described in our 1st reading
and in the Gospel.  We may not have the awesome
experience Thomas had of physically putting our
hand in the Lord’s side and our fingers into the
nail marks on his hand, but He is with us.
“The Lord comes to us as Savior.”

We are victorious over death.  The Lord’s
deliverance is cause for joy.  Just when we were
down, the Lord raises us up.  “I was hard pressed
and falling, but the Lord has been my Savior.”
“The joyful shout of victory is heard.”
We are on firm ground after all.

When Thomas put his fingers into the Lord's
side,  it was clearly a moment of victory for him
and for us.  Thomas was struck with awe, and
came to believe, in that upper room, with those
other righteous men.  What does it take for us,
though we have not seen, to get down on our
knees and say, 'My Lord and my God.”

Christ has become our cornerstone, as our
psalmist reminds us.  Christ has become a
source of strength for us, despite his apparent
weakness that day on the cross, when he died
a shameful death. 

Only the Lord could have done this remarkable
thing: “By the Lord has this been done; it is
wonderful in our eyes.”  This is cause for rejoicing --
“This is the day the Lord has made.”
Along with the disciples and the early church,
“Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Have you ever been 'hard pressed and falling,'
as was our psalmist?   Describe how the Lord has been
your strength and courage in times of trouble.

2.  As the Psalm says, 'The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.'   Speak of how o
ur Savior has
become the rock you can rely on in your life.