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
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
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.'