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.'


  1. Minna8:52 PM

    We all have our crosses to bear; I have had a heavy cross that I have been carrying for over 5 months. It gets lighter, then becomes heavy again. There I was at Mass singing along during the collection of gifts, "Deep within, I will plant my law, not on stone, but in your heart. Follow me; I will bring you back, You will be my own, and I will be your God. I will give you a new heart, a new spirit within you, for I will be your strength. See my face, and see your God, for I will be your hope. Return to me, with all your heart, and I will bring you back," when suddenly I felt my eyes well up with tears, and out of the blue I found myself crying uncontrollably. I believe it was our Lord speaking to me through the hymn, telling me to trust Him and He will provide the inner peace and healing that I need to lift the cross.

  2. There are a lot of opportunities out there to serve. I remember when we were called to go off and serve with Habitat For Humanity in Central America. We tried our best to be good stewards, and we did a lot of good things. At first we thought we'd win the accolades of many, but in the end it was a few who really seemed to understand the vision of Habitat and what we were trying to do. I think it's very, very important to stay focused on what is really important for God and for you. At 76, it's different than what it was when I was in my 50s and 60s.

  3. Because we are born as sinners, our natural desires first want to please ourselves rather than God. When I sin against God's law, He seems distant, unless I repent and ask for His forgiveness. In His Mercy it is truly a blessing that God calls me to have a right relationship with Him, despite my deceit and the evil in my heart. Through the confession of my sins, my sins will be blotted out and erased, clearing my heart and spirit for new thoughts and desires. And then through His Grace I won't fall into the same pattern of sin. No wonder King David asked God to create for him a new and clean heart, "Restore within me the joy of your Salvation."

    The more I have God's forgiveness through His Mercy, the more I get the joy of God's Salvation. And so I am able to feel Him near to me. I feel my spirit is renewed by Him. I become a better person. Finally, I have come to realize that I can never please God by outward actions if my inward attitude is not right in the eyes of God. And God wants a contrite heart. When He forgives our sins, He restores our relationship with Him through the righteousness of Jesus.

  4. Peggy8:50 PM

    “A clean heart create for me, O God; and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Give me back the joy of your salvation.” Ah, yes, we have such a loving Father who is waiting for our "receptivity." All we have to do is ask for His forgiveness for our mess ups and get ready for His outpouring of love. He does not force Himself on us. He waits for us to say, "Okay, I'm sorry and I'm ready for you to love me." Then He pours out His graces.

    God is the "Strong Man" in our lives. For us it's speaking in the name of Jesus and standing firm on His name. This in itself gives ME confidence. I can stamp out the lies of Satan. With the grace of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I can chase that "dog" Satan, out of my life by telling him to go in the name of Jesus Christ. We are powerful in the Lord. I "see" the new Joy of the psalmist. "Give me back the joy of your salvation.”