Monday, November 25, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 1, 2013


Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)

“I rejoiced when they said to me,
'Let us go up to the house of the Lord.” 

This Sunday we revisit this Psalm that
sings of a spiritual journey to the house
of the Lord, the holy city of Jerusalem.
In our 1st reading the prophet Isaiah also
speaks about a journey to Zion, to the house
of God, His holy mountain.  We too are called
to make that same journey, that we may walk
in His paths.  Our psalmist says, “Our feet
are standing within your gates, Jerusalem.”

But why are we called to make that journey?
Firstly, we stand with the Israelites who already
dream of gathering together at some future time.
But secondly, for us as Christians the psalm is a
vision of the end times, when our spiritual
pilgrimage leads us from earth to heaven.

Our psalmist says we are called to give thanks
to the name of the Lord, but we note also there
are set up judgment seats at our destination.
For our journey ends where God resides, His
kingdom of heaven, and we must be prepared
to be in His presence.  St Paul in our 2nd reading
cautions us to throw off the works of darkness,
and to put on the armor of light, to conduct
ourselves properly as in the day, to put on the
Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself says in this
Sunday's Gospel (Matthew 24:44), “You must
be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Jerusalem in the Psalm symbolizes for us the
end of our journey, being present with the Lord.
This is what God has planned for His people:
When we arrive in God's holy city, the kingdom
of God will come to us in its fullness, and we will
live in peace.  As the psalmist tells us, we will be
filled with a desire to say, “I will pray for your good,”
“Peace be within you.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  As we begin a new season of Advent, the Psalm 

encourages us to be prepared for the time when we 
will be in God's kingdom and He will be present to us.  
Speak about what you are doing to prepare yourself 
to be in God's holy city.

2.  As we prepare to receive the Prince of Peace within 

our midst, our psalmist asks us to pray for peace within 
the walls of the holy city and within ourselves.  What are 
you doing to ensure that you have peace within you and 
how are you conveying your peace to others around you?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 24, 2013


Psalm 122:  1-2, 3-4, 4-5 (Read)

“We will go up to the house of the Lord.”

The Psalm is about a pilgrimage to the holy
city of Jerusalem.   “Let us go to the house
of the Lord.” And for us it may also be about
a spiritual journey that we must embark
upon if we are to enter the Lord’s kingdom
and be present to the King of Kings.

For us the way is clear – we have only to
follow God’s beloved son, our Savior.
For just as God chose David to be the
shepherd for His chosen people (2 Samuel),
so God chose his son Jesus to lead us to
redemption (Collossians).  And as St Paul says,
the Father saw to it that we would be transferred
to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

 The gate is narrow, but as the psalmist says,
“And now our feet are standing within your
gates, Jerusalem.”  Now we too have a share
in Christ’s inheritance.

And what draws us to make the journey
through the narrow gate?  We seek to be with
the Lord, just as the thief on His right did (St Dismas)
when he said, “Jesus, remember me when you
come into your kingdom.” (Gospel of Luke)
The Lord replied, “Today you will be with me
in Paradise.”

This is our goal, too – to complete that pilgrimage
that the psalmist speaks about, to reach that
holy city where are the “thrones of justice, the
thrones of the house of David.”

Jerusalem in the Psalm symbolizes for us
the end of our journey, being present with the Lord.
This is what God has planned for His people.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm speaks of a journey to the Lord's kingdom. 
 What progress are you making along the way on your own 
 journey to the Lord's holy city?

2.  The psalmist mentions that he has set foot within the gates
of Jerusalem.  Describe your decision to walk the walk and go

through the narrow gate that leads to redemption and a share in 
our Lord's inheritance.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 17, 2013

Psalm 98:  5-6, 7-8, 9 (Read)

“The Lord comes to govern the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.”

The Psalm is about the coming of God,
and the promise is made that when the Lord
comes, he will govern the earth with justice.

Scripture teaches us that we do not know when
the Lord will come, and we are warned to be ready
because it may happen like a thief in the night.
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus speaks about the
day of judgment, when awesome sights and mighty
signs will come from the sky and when the disciples
will be hated by all because of His name.

Although the Psalm is about the joy of the Lord’s
coming, there may be reason for anxiety on our part.
The Book of Malachi warns us that the day is coming
when evildoers will be set on fire and become stubble.

Should we be afraid of the Lord’s judgment?
One thing is sure—we need to be ready, to prepare
to face the arrival of God.   We do not know when that
day may come;  some in our generation doubt that
day will come at all.   For those who have put their
trust in the Lord, and attempted to apply His teachings
toward others they meet in the course of their day,
there will be rejoicing and praise.  For others who
have slacked off and found fault with their neighbors
and have not lifted a helping hand, shame and destruction
may be at hand.  After all, we are called to be caregivers;
we are indeed our brother’s keeper.

“The Lord comes to govern the earth.”
We may not always welcome someone who comes
to rule over us.  Or to judge us.  But the Lord brings
His “healing rays.”   He is after all the “sun of justice.”
The Book of Malachi assures us that if we fear the Lord,
“The sun of justice will arise with its healing rays.”

There is hope for us, as we struggle not to be idle,
and face those who hate us because of our faith.
Our Lord liberates us from whatever holds us back
or drags us down.  And we kick up our heels like
“calves being released from the stall.”

The Psalm repeatedly tells us to be joyful about
the Lord’s coming; to sing praise to the Lord;
to shout with joy to the Lord.  We join with our
surroundings, “Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks about the Day of the Lord,
when He will come to rule the earth with justice.
Are you ready for the Lord's coming?   Speak about
how you are preparing for it.

2.  Our psalmist writes about those who dwell
in the world shouting for joy before the Lord,
when He comes to rule the earth.   Explain how you
will sing praise to the Lord and sing joyfully before
the King, the Lord.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, November 10, 2013


Psalm 17:  1, 5-6, 8, 15 (Read)

“Hear, O Lord a just suit;                                                        

attend to my outcry.”
We all may have been unjustly attacked
at one time or another, as our psalmist
David was, and as were the seven brothers
in Maccabees.  When that happens, where
do we hide?  Where do we take refuge?

Who else but the Lord stands ready to
console us, protect us “in the shadow of
His wings?”   Our psalmist reminds us
that without God we can do nothing,
and it is He who empowers us to prevail.

And so we trust God, as David does;
we call upon Him, and we cling to Him. 
We are not hesitant to call upon His name,
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.”   
For His part, God keeps us as the “apple of
His eye.”   He attends to our outcry;
He hearkens to our prayers, so long as
our lips are without deceit.

And when we face death, whose face do we
want to see?  It is the Lord's -- “Let me see
your face;  when I awake, let me be filled
with your presence.”  Who else has promised
us eternal life? 

We must not be afraid to trust God for the
outcome.  All we have to do is to keep to His
paths, as our psalmist says.  Our feet do not falter.
As David did, we call upon the Lord.
As was true for David, we shall be content in
His presence. 



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that his steps have kept to
the Lord's paths, his feet have not faltered.   Explain how
you have 'walked the walk' in the pathways of the Lord.

2.  The Psalm speaks of how we shall be content in God's
presence.   Tell of what it means to you to look forward
to the day when you shall behold God's face.