Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, January 5, 2014


Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 (Read)


 “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”

The Psalm is a prayer for our newborn King,
a Messiah who will be like the “rain coming
down upon the fields, like showers watering
the earth.”  Our psalmist prays that our
newborn King will be anointed by God with
divine judgment and empowered to rule the earth.

The prophet Isaiah in our 1st reading predicts
that the light of the Lord will cause our hearts
to overflow, and the riches of the sea to be
emptied out before us.  Our psalmist also speaks
of abundance that will flourish in the King's days.
But the Messiah is among us, to do more than
bless us materially; the Savior has come to make
our burdens easy, to share our afflictions.
“The lives of the poor He shall save.”

We see the light, just as the prophet Isaiah said
we would.  In the Psalm, the mystery is revealed
to us, poor in spirit though we are:
“He rescues the poor when they cry out [as we do],
the afflicted who have no one to help.”
This is what our Good Shepherd Jesus is sent to do,
to shepherd God’s people.  This is why we join the
Magi in paying homage to our newborn King, and
join with our psalmist in singing,
"Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm says that 'profound peace' will flower
when our newborn King arrives.   Speak of what this
verse means to you and how you gain inner peace and
strength from the arrival of our Savior.

2.  Our psalmist writes that the King will save the lives
of the poor and rescue the afflicted.   Give an example
of how you have been healed by our Lord physically,
spiritually, or emotionally.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 29, 2013


Psalm 128:  1-2, 3, 4-5 (Read)

“Blessed are those who fear
the Lord and walk in His ways.”

Our psalmist tells us that a man who
has a right relationship with the Lord
will also obtain a right relationship with
his wife and his family.  If we have a right
relationship with the Lord, we will know
how to treat our wife and our children,
and in turn, we will discover how blessed
we are in our home and by the presence of
our family.  “Just so will the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.”

And if a man walks with the Lord, this will
be reflected in the way he loves his wife.
Because if a man cherishes his wife,
as ‘flesh of his flesh' and ‘bone of his bones,’
he nourishes his relationship with her,
as Christ nourishes the Church.
And the man’s reward is that his wife will be
like a ‘fruitful vine’ within his house.  This is
how a man is blessed who fears the Lord.

Having been so favored by God,  we understand
why, 'A man shall leave his father and mother
and cleave to his wife.'  God made them one flesh,
and, 'What God has joined, no human being
may separate.'

If we fear the Lord and walk in His ways, we will
receive the blessings of our labor, prosper in a
material way, and grow old gracefully in the
company of our family.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm tells us how to gain God's favor
so that our family life will be blessed.  What does
it mean to you to fear the Lord and walk in His ways?

2.  We learn from our psalmist how to behave toward
our wife and our children.  A right relationship with our
family is obtained by having a right relationship with our Lord.
Explain how you are putting this teaching into practice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 22, 2013


Psalm 24:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (Read) 

“Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
Who can stand in His holy place?”

The psalm is about a journey to a holy place.
It is a place where we will meet the Lord.
But we are asked, “Who can ascend the
mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in
His holy place?”

During Advent we become aware that although
we may not have to climb a holy mountain to meet
the Lord, we must prepare to receive Him in
our hearts.  In fact the Psalm is guiding us to
prepare ourselves from within, so that we are
made ready to receive Him when He comes.

This is what our Advent time is about --

preparing ourselves to receive the Lord.
Just as St Paul in our 2nd reading was made ready
to receive “The grace of apostleship,” we too are
called to open our hearts to the Lord.

What must we do?
We must cleanse our hearts.
The verses of the Psalm say, “The clean of hand
and pure of heart who has not given his soul to
useless things … will receive blessings from the Lord.”
We are all unworthy to be in the Lord's presence,
but at least we can cleanse ourselves through Confession,
and bathe in the Word.  That is how we show our love
for the Lord.

The Psalm calls for the coming of the king of glory,
just as the Gospel calls for the birth of Jesus.
Who will enter His kingdom?  Our psalmist tells us
that those who love the Lord and those who seek
God's face will receive their reward from God our savior.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm Response asks us, "Let the Lord enter;
He is the king of glory."   How do you prepare yourself
during Advent so that the king of glory can enter your heart?

2.  Our psalmist speaks of a people that seeks the Lord,
that seeks the face of God.   Describe what you are doing
to seek out the Lord in your family and in your community.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 15, 2013


Psalm 146:  6-7, 8-9, 9-10 (Read)

“The Lord God keeps faith forever.”

The Psalm tells us that our long journey
of waiting and petitioning the Lord has
come to an end.  For us, then, the Psalm
is about the time of Advent, when the
promises of Isaiah (1st reading) and the
other prophets are fulfilled.  The coming
of Jesus means for us that we who are
afflicted will be set free; we who are hungry
will receive real food.

Why do we trust in God and not princes of
this world?  Because, “The Lord God keeps
faith forever; He gives food to the hungry.”
Who among us is not hungry for a closer
relationship with The Lord?

And, “The Lord gives sight to the blind.”
Our eyes are opened when we enter the kingdom.
St James tells us in our 2nd reading that our
patience will be rewarded, and the psalm confirms
this, “The Lord raises up those who are bowed
down.” We are raised up with the Lord Jesus.

Our psalmist sings about God's promises to the
oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner, the blind,
and those who are bowed down in one way or
another.  We could all benefit by being set free
in the Spirit or healed, so that we are no longer
blinded.   Then we too would no longer be lame,
but would be able to leap like a stag as the
prophet Isaiah promises.

And how are the promises of the psalmist fulfilled? 
Where else but in the healing ministry of Jesus,
as the Gospel tells us.  Who else has the grace
and the mercy to heal us?

Advent is our time to be joyful.  The coming of
the Messiah opens up a new time for us, a time
of promise.  We can celebrate with our psalmist,
“The Lord shall reign forever; your God, Zion,
through all generations!  Hallelujah!”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of a hopeful time when our God
will come and save us.  Tell of what it means to you to trust in
the Lord, to be set free, and to be raised up.

2.  Our psalmist promises that the Lord will give food to the
hungry.  Speak of your hunger for a closer relationship with the
Lord, and how you expect to receive real food this Advent.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Psalm for Sunday, December 8, 2013


Psalm 72:  1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (Read)

“May He rule from sea to sea, and
from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Our psalmist (Solomon) speaks about a
perfect king – a king who judges like God,
governs His people with justice, His afflicted
with right judgment.  The psalm's verses speak
of a king that is to live as long as the sun endures,
like the moon through all generations.

The more we read the Psalm, the more it tells us
about the Messiah to come – “May all kings bow
before him, all nations serve him.” He is to fulfill
all the hopes placed upon Him by the prophets.
And, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,”
as Isaiah says beautifully in this Sunday's 1st reading.

Only the expected Messiah can receive from God
the wisdom and judgment to govern the people with
justice.  The Messiah brings great prosperity and
rules the promised land from sea to sea.

The Psalm's verses recall for us our Savior's
promises, to rescue us when we cry out and save us
when we are oppressed.  He lifts us up when we are
poor in spirit.

We see the light -- the Messiah is revealed to us Christians
as Christ our King.  “May His name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun His name shall remain.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  This Sunday's Psalm speaks of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

who is to be endowed by God as a just King.   Describe how you will
make room for the Lord in your life so that He may govern how you conduct 

yourself this Advent season.

2.  Our psalmist writes about the profound peace that will flourish when the 

Messiah arrives.   Tell of how you will receive the Lord's peace during Advent 
and how this will affect your life.