Monday, July 29, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, August 4, 2013


Psalm 90:  3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17


“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.”


The Psalm reminds us that man’s
days are numbered, and that
we should use our time wisely,
making our days and our life
count for something.  


And how do we do that?
We do it by being open to the
wisdom of God.  Just as Solomon
preferred the gift of wisdom over
material wealth, and concluded
that so much of what we do in the
world is vanity, we too see the
advantage of using our time wisely
by doing the Lord's will.  


Although we may never receive
the wisdom of Solomon, we can hope
for some ability to be detached from
worldly things, which can separate
us from God.


How do we do this?  Where does
the ability come from, to cut through
all our present day concerns?
It is obtained by listening to St. Paul,
who tells us to put to death the parts
of us that are earthly, take off the old
self and put on the new self (2nd reading).


And Jesus tells us in the Gospel that
we need to store up treasure in heaven
and be rich in what matters to God.
If we can get that right, we may receive
the favor of the Lord and be counted
among his sheep.  As the Psalm says,
“May the favor of the Lord our God
be ours.”


How much better will our lives be
if we may sing for joy, as the psalmist
says, and be filled at daybreak
with the love of the Lord.
And having received God’s favor,
we will want to be His servants
and do His work.  We will become
laborers in the field where the
harvest is plentiful.  And as the
Psalm says, “The work of our hands
will prosper.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this Sunday is, "If today
you hear His voice, harden
not your hearts."  How
would you apply these words to the Psalm's message
about using our time wisely?

2.  The Psalm ends with a petition that the Lord
will "prosper the work of our hands!"  How do we
be sure that our work will gain the favor of the Lord? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, July 28, 2013


Psalm 138:  1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8


Our psalmist David composed
this prayer of a grateful heart.
“I will give thanks to you,
O Lord, with all my heart.”


David is grateful because his
petitions are answered by the Lord.
“For you have heard the words
of my mouth.”   The Lord's answers
to our psalmist's prayers have come
at a critical time,  a time when David
is seeking to build up his strength.


David speaks of a divine rescue --
“When I cried out, you answered;
you strengthened my spirit.”
Perhaps we’re all in need of a spiritual
rescue of the type David describes.


And it isn’t because of any of the
psalmist’s virtues that he obtains salvation.
It is a result of God’s loving fidelity.
“Lord, your love is eternal.”


Our Savior Jesus conveys a similar
teaching in this Sunday's Gospel,
“Ask and you will receive; seek and
you will find; knock and the door
will be opened to you.  For everyone
who asks, receives; and the one
who seeks, finds.”


Our God does not forsake the work
of His hands, though who has given
the Lord anything that he may be repaid?


Our psalmist reminds us—all God
has to do is stretch out his right hand,
and we will be saved.  “You stretch out
your hand, your right hand saves me.”


Unworthy as we are, and though the
Lord is exalted, He watches over us in
our lowly state.   And thanks be to God,
His kindness endures forever.




Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist affirms that God answers
our needs, "Lord, on the day I called for help,
you answered me."   Give an example of how
your prayers have been
answered at a critical time
in your life.

2.  The Psalm reminds us that although the Lord is
exalted, He sees the lowly.   What is it that gives you
confidence that the Lord will not forsake
you, even
though He
is exalted and you are among the lowly ones.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, July 21, 2013


Psalm 15:  2-3, 3-4, 5

This Psalm of David begins with a familiar question,
“Who may dwell on your holy mountain?”

Fortunately for us, David gives us answers that serve
as a lesson in how today's Christians are to behave
if we are to dwell in God's Kingdom.

David says, “He who does justice will live in the
presence of the Lord.”  For us this can mean
whoever has a right relationship with the Lord
will inherit God's Kingdom.  Whoever loves God
with all his heart and loves his neighbor as himself
is not far from the Kingdom of heaven, as Jesus
affirms to the scribe in Mark 12:34.

Jesus was born to bring us the Kingdom and to personify
the Kingdom of God to us humans.  If we follow what
our psalmist prescribes, we will find that we are able
to live now in the Kingdom of God, here on earth.

David describes what separates us from God and
His Kingdom.  Our separation is caused by the
sinful things that we do and the harmful habits
that we acquire willfully.  This separation can only
be healed through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus  shows us that the Kingdom of God is 

at hand and can for us become a present reality,
inside of us and within our community.  Just as 

David did, we hunger for God's presence; we long
for His Kingdom. 

Fortunately for us, through the Eucharist we are able to
receive Jesus physically and spiritually and to live in
His Body as He lives in ours.   And having Jesus inside 

us and living within Him, we are able to make the 
Kingdom present to our family and our community.  

Our God intended for us to have a share in His own
divinity.  All we have to do is accept God's Son into 
our hearts and follow His teachings.  Then you 
and I will be not far from the Kingdom. We will have  
Jesus in our midst, and we will be able
to dwell on God's holy mountain.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist David asks us once again, "Who may
dwell on God's holy mountain?"  Drawing from the
verses of the Psalm, speak of what you are doing to
draw closer to God.

2.  The Psalm says that one who thinks the truth in his
heart will live in the presence of the Lord.  Describe how
you are making sure you have a pure heart so as to gain
favor with God.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, July 14, 2013


Psalm 19:  8, 9, 10, 11

“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.”

God’s statutes refresh our soul; they give "wisdom to the simple;" they "rejoice our hearts;" they are more "desirable than gold, sweeter also than honey."

“The law of the Lord is perfect,

refreshing the soul.”  The Psalm speaks to us of the joy 
that is stirred up in our hearts when 
we follow the Lord’s commands.

Our Savior Lord Jesus came to fulfill
the law and make us right with the Lord.
If we are to imitate the divine life,
everything we need to know is found
in God’s Law.  Obeying the Law brings
much reward.
We are kept from willful sins by the Law. 
Obey the Law and we will be able to walk
as God fearing people.  As our psalmist
explains, the Law of the Lord is in fact a
source of joy, something to be desired,
because the Law gives us wisdom and
provides us with something we can trust.

It is through the inspired Word of God that
we know His commandments and through
this Psalm that we know His Law is a source
of refreshment, a source of joy.   His statutes
do not bind us, they set us free. 

The reading of the Law should not
make us sad, but be a source of rejoicing.
Give us ears to hear!


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is,
"Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."   
Tell of how God's commandments are for
you uplifting and nourishing.

2.  Our psalmist says that God's ordinances
are for him 'sweeter than honey.'   Explain what
this verse means to you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, July 7, 2013


Psalm 66:  1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20


"Come and see the works of God."

The Psalm celebrates the awesome power of God, manifest in 'His tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.'  Our psalmist recalls the dividing of the Red Sea, which delivered Israel from the Egyptians, through the favor of God.  That same awesome power that split the Red Sea became available to the early apostles of the Church, as they went about healing and doing signs and wonders.

Where does the power come from to heal the lame  and drive out unclean spirits?  
It comes from the Holy Spirit, who empowers each 
of us to become a healing force within our 
family and our community.  No wonder those early
believers were eager to go forth into the towns and 
become laborers for His harvest and to rejoice 
because their names were written in heaven.  

We too cannot help but sing praise to God when
we feel His presence within us.  We proclaim
His glorious praise, and we on earth worship Him.
We want all to know what God has done for us,
as the Psalm says, so we 'cry out to God with joy.'



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalmist invites us to, "Come and see
the works of God."  Give an example of the awesome
power of God in your life.

2.  The verses of the psalm say, "Blessed be God who
refused me not."   Tell of how the Lord has answered
your plea and your prayer.