Monday, March 31, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, April 6, 2014

Psalm 130:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 (Read)

“With the Lord, there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” 

The psalmist calls to the Lord from “out of the depths” 
of his sin that has brought him near to death.  He asks
the Lord, “Hear my cry for mercy.”  He waits with longing
for the Lord, knowing that God forgives, and redeems us, 
even when we abandon Him.  “My soul looks for the Lord 
more than sentinels for daybreak.”

There is no way we can please God, so long as we remain

in the flesh, as St Paul says in today's 2nd reading (Romans 8).  
But God forgives us, gives us 'life in the spirit' and saves us 
from death (remember 'the wages of sin is death.')  What
greater act of forgiveness could there be than the sacrifice 
of the Son of God for our sins?  “But with you there is 
forgiveness, that you may be revered.”

We too await our redemption with hope, knowing that even

if we are dead in our sins, the Lord will revive us.  We too 
cry out to the Lord for forgiveness –  “Lord, may your ears
be attentive  to my cry for mercy.”

Redemption is a promise made to us, just as the Lord 

promised  the Israelites that he would open their graves and 
put his Spirit within them, so they would live (today's 1st reading, 
Ezekiel 37.)

That same Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, and St Paul 

tells us the Spirit of God will give life to our mortal bodies too.  
This is that  “full redemption” the psalmist talks about that is
later made real to us in the Gospel story of Lazarus.

And so we too have come to believe and revere our Lord, 

as happens in the Gospel among the Jews in Bethany.  
Truly, 'Our God is an awesome God.'


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist sings about the promise of forgiveness that is 

available to us if we trust in the Lord.   Speak about how you will 
seek out God's mercy during this Lenten season.

2.  The Psalm talks about 'plenteous redemption,' or the 'fullness
of redemption.'   Tell what this means to you as you prepare for
the coming of Easter.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, March 30, 2014


Psalm 23:  1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 (Read)  

“You anoint my head with oil." 


Just as David was anointed by Samuel,
so too we are chosen by the Lord to be
His servants and to do His work. 

Our own family members may scoff at this,
and we may think we are least likely to succeed
as a servant of God.  But the Lord anoints ordinary
people to do extraordinary things. The weak
are chosen to shame the strong.

Where does the power come from to do the
Lord's work?  Like David, we are anointed
with oil by the Lord, and we make a covenant
with Him.  Our trust in the Lord is rewarded.

We must do as David did and open our hearts
to receive the Holy Spirit.   St Paul says it another
way in this Sunday's 2nd reading – “Awake O' sleeper,
and Christ will give you light.”

Sunday's Gospel shows us that Jesus came to cure
our spiritual blindness.   We lack nothing when we
trust in the Lord.  We fear nothing, even when our
lives are at a low point spiritually or physically.
Our eyes are opened by our trust in the Lord;
we are led out of the dark valley of sin and sloth.

Our response, as the psalmist says, is to let the Lord
lead us, to listen to Him, and to take courage from Him.
God sends His Son to save us and His Spirit to live
within us.  “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us
all the days of our life, and we shall dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that the Lord guides us in right paths
for His name's sake.   Do you feel chosen to do God's will?
If so, how are you overcoming any obstacles to make it happen?

2.  The Psalm's verses affirm, 'The Lord is at my side,
with His rod and His staff that give me courage.'  Are you
empowered to serve God and live out the Gospel?  Give an example.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, March 23, 2014


Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)

“We are the people God shepherds, the flock 

He guides.”

The Psalm is a call to praise the Lord
and to obey Him.  We are cautioned not
to “harden our hearts” as the Israelites
did at Meribah.  We are not to test the Lord
as our spiritual ancestors tested the Lord
“as in the day of Massah in the desert.”
After all, we are “God’s well tended flock.”

Our Lord is a good shepherd, and we are His
sheep.  As St Paul tells us in today's 2nd reading,
the love of God is “poured out into our hearts
through the holy Spirit.”  For that we should
“bow down in worship, kneel before the Lord
who made us.”  And when we humble ourselves
and open our hearts to the Lord, we are set free.
We are no longer constrained by the things of
this world, and we can be open to His love and
His teachings.

Today's Gospel affirms that Our Lord Jesus
is our Savior, and just as the life of the Samaritan
woman at the well was transformed by the voice
of Jesus, we too can be transformed, if we truly
listen to the Lord.  Not only will He tell us
“everything we ever did,” but He will give us
that living water which quenches our spiritual

At that point our hearts will no longer be hardened.
We will 'bow down in worship,' and as our psalmist
says, we will greet our Lord with a song of praise.



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts if 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, March 10, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, March 16, 2014


Psalm 33:  4-5, 18-19, 20, 22 (Read)

"The eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him,
to deliver them from death."

The Psalm is praise for God’s providence,
the blessings He gives us.  “The Lord fills
the earth with goodness.  His works are

We may not have the faith of Abraham
(Sunday's 1st reading), but we can be sure
the Lord’s eyes are upon us – “The Lord’s
eyes are upon those who hope for His
gracious help.”  As the psalmist says,
“O Lord, we have put our hope in you.”

In Sunday's 2nd reading St Paul says that
God has saved us and called us to a holy life.
The Psalmist confirms this – “We are
delivered from death, kept alive in times
of famine.”  We may not be starving for
physical food, but we could face spiritual
death from sin if we were not saved by our
Lord Jesus.

“The eyes of the Lord are upon those who
fear Him, to deliver them from death.”
Remember, the wages of sin is death, and
we are all afflicted.  Fortunately for us,
Christ destroyed death and brought life,
as St Paul says, so it is natural that we openly
ask for His help and His protection.  He is
our shield in the spiritual battle that we
all have to fight.  “Our soul waits for the
Lord, who is our help and our shield.”

If we trust in the Lord, His eyes will be upon us
so long as we count ourselves among those who
fear Him, and we can expect to receive His grace.

Through His goodness we can expect a
transfiguration of our own, and that same light
which shone from Jesus' face that day on the
high mountain can be a source of light for us
and those around us.  “We have put our hope
in you, O Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  As our psalmist says, the Lord's eyes are upon us, and that
is a good thing because of His saving grace.  Speak of how you
depend on God's providence to preserve you as you go about
your daily life amidst the world's attractions.

2.  The Psalm assures us that God's love and mercy will be
granted to us, as we place our trust in Him.  Give an example of
how you have trusted in the Lord and how you have benefited
from His kindness.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, March 9, 2014


Psalm 51:  3-4, 5-6, 13-14, 17 (Read)

“A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me”

We are all born of a sinful nature.
Just as Adam and Eve fell to temptation
in the Garden of Eden (this Sunday’s first
reading from Genesis), so too has God's
chosen one, King David, our psalmist.
David is sincerely sorry for committing
adultery and murder, two gravely sinful acts
which separate him from our loving Father. 

But God in his compassion and goodness can
blot out David’s offense, no matter how grave.
David’s sins, like our own, are offensive to God
first and foremost – “Against you alone have
I sinned.”

David cries out to be rescued from his fate,
to be saved from death, which is a consequence
of his sins.  David’s verses are a prayer of
repentance and recall for us the power of the
Sacrament of Confession.   “A clean heart create
for me, O God; and a steadfast spirit renew
within me.  Give me back the joy of your salvation.”
His words are prophetic and speak of God’s grace
that becomes available through Christ’s gift of
justification (see also Romans, Sunday's 2nd reading).

Our psalmist pleads with the Lord, "Have mercy on me,
O 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.   And when we do fall
into deep patterns of sin, we must realize that our
wrongdoing isn't only against other people, but ultimately,
it's rebellion against the Lord himself.  "Against you alone
have I sinned,"  is how David acknowledges this fact. 

God wants to have a close relationship with us, but
unconfessed sin will always get in the way. We must
not only confess our sins openly and sincerely, but
we must work at "restoring the joy of salvation” in
our hearts. 

Once we have rebuilt a solid foundation with God the Father,
no strong assault from Satan will penetrate.  We can have
that very same "steadfastness of spirit" that David asks
for in the Psalm and that Jesus displays in the Gospel. 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist calls upon the Lord to renew within him a 'steadfast spirit.'
Give an example of how our God has done a work in you so that you can 

carry your cross with endurance, trusting in God's strength.

2.  The Psalm's verses speak of how we offend God by our sins and separate

ourselves from His loving presence.   Tell of how, with the help of God's grace, 
you are able to obtain a right relationship with the Lord, and regain the
'joy of your salvation.'