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.