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?