Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, May 4, 2014


Psalm 16:  1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (Read)

“With the Lord at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.”

This psalm of David speaks to us about a belief in 
an everlasting life with God.  “Lord, my allotted portion
and my cup, you have made my destiny secure.”

The distress that afflicts us from time to time when 

we feel separated from God is overcome – “Keep me, 
O God, for in you I take refuge."

St Peter cites the Psalm's verses in today’s 1st 

reading (Acts 2: 14, 22-33) and affirms that David's 
verses speak of the resurrection of Christ.  “You will 
not suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.”

Death is destroyed; our faith in everlasting life with 

our resurrected Lord is confirmed. “I set the Lord ever 
before me; abounding joy in your presence, the delights
at your right hand forever.”

For us these are encouraging words, with a promise that 

we too can look forward to being lifted up and spending
the rest of our days in the presence of the Lord. 

The Lord promises, if we are His faithful servants, that 

we will not have to see the pit; He will not abandon us.  
As David says, this is enough to make our hearts glad 
and our souls rejoice.  When the Lord is with us, do not 
our hearts burn within us, as the two disciples declare
on the road to Emmaus in today's Gospel?

Our burdens are made light; His yoke is easy, and that 

gladdens the heart and strengthens the body. 
We raise a song of praise to our risen Savior!


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm 's verses  affirm that we who are His faithful ones 

will remain in the presence of our Lord forever.  Speak of how 
you are encouraged by the Psalm's promises.

2.  Our psalmist inspires us to set the Lord ever before us and 

if we do so, "My soul rejoices, my body too abides in confidence."   
How do you go about putting the Lord first in your life despite all 
the worldly distractions that surround us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, April 27, 2014


Psalm 118:  2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (Read) 

“I was hard pressed and was falling,
 but the Lord came to my help.” 


Once again we visit this powerful psalm of praise
and thanksgiving.  This time the verses stress
the enduring love that God has for us – so much so
that despite the part we played in crucifying His son,
God went ahead and carried out His plan to save us.
“God’s mercy endures forever.”

“I was hard pressed and falling, but the Lord came
to my help.”  This verse could be about us.  Are we
any different from our psalmist, any less desperate
or in need of the Lord's healing power and presence
in our lives? 

“My strength and my courage is the Lord.”   He is
present to us, just as He was in those early days of the
church described in today's 1st reading  (Acts 2: 42-47),
and in the Gospel (John 20: 19-31).  We may not have
the awesome experience of physically putting our hand
in the Lord’s side and our fingers into the nail marks
on His hand, but He is with us.

We are victorious over death.  The Lord’s deliverance
is cause for joy.  Just when we were down, the Lord raises
us up.  “I was hard pressed and falling, but the Lord has
been my Savior.”  The joyful shout of victory is heard.

We are on firm ground after all – Christ has become our
cornerstone, as our psalmist reminds us.  Christ has become
a source of strength for us, despite His apparent weakness
that day on the cross, when He died a shameful death. 

The Lord is present to us when we are frightened as He
was present to those frightened disciples in the upper room.
Who would have been more hard pressed and falling
than they were before Jesus appeared to them and blessed them
and extended His peace to them?  That same source of strength
and might the psalmist speaks of is available to us; all we have
to do is open our hearts and receive His saving grace.  

As St Peter tells us in today's 2nd reading (1 Peter 1: 3-9), Christ’s
resurrection gives us a living hope and a powerful faith.  This is
cause for rejoicing: “By the Lord has this been done; it is
wonderful in our eyes.  This is the day the Lord has made.”
Along with the disciples and the early church,  “Let us be glad
and rejoice in it.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist was 'hard pressed and falling,' but affirms that 

the Lord has been his savior.   Describe how you have been
saved by the Lord and given strength and courage by Him.

2.  The Psalm declares, "The joyful shout of victory is heard."
Speak of what makes you joyful during this Easter season, and
tell of how you have shouted and rejoiced in the Lord's resurrection.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Psalm for Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

Psalm 118:  1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (Read)

“The right hand of the Lord has struck with power.”

The Psalm celebrates a great victory over death.
The victory is won by the Lord’s 'right hand,' a clear advance notice of the power of the Son of God.

“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works
of the Lord.”  These could have been Jesus' own
words, speaking about His resurrection and His
food, which is to do the work of the Father.

Our risen Savior has defeated death and the power
that sin has over us.   And we live on in His kingdom. Having become yoked to Jesus, we willingly praise God and follow His direction in our lives.

We may ask, “Having been saved, what are we
obliged to do?  What is our commission?”
In today's 1st reading,  St Luke tells us what we are
commissioned to do – we are to preach to the people
and testify that Jesus is the one anointed by God.

We are an Easter people; Christ has become our
cornerstone.  As the psalmist says, “The stone the
builders rejected has become the corner stone.”
The mystery is that Christ has become a source of
strength for us, despite His apparent weakness that
day on the cross, when He died a shameful death. 
Only the Lord could have done this remarkable
thing – “This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist affirms, "I shall declare the works of the Lord."
Tell what this verse means to you.  How are you going about
doing the work of the Lord?

2.  The Psalm declares, "The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone."  Speak about how our Savior
is like a rock in your life and how you build your life around

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Psalm for Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014


Psalm 22:  8-9,  17-18,  19-20,  23-24 (Read)

“My God, my God, 
why have you abandoned me?”

David writes this psalm almost as though these
verses are to be part of the Passion of Christ.  
The psalm even becomes the prayer of Christ 
at the time of His crucifixion and speaks of the 
suffering that our Savior experiences on our behalf.

People are the same today as they were back

then, when Jesus was being led to the cross. 
We scoff at Him; we mock Him; we wag our
heads; and hurl insults at Him.

Why?  Because He became sin; He took our sins upon himself and become contemptible in our eyes.  He reminds us that we are a sinful people; He convicts us; He catches us in the lie; 
He embarrasses us; He exposes us;
He accuses us of being hypocrites.  

The truth hurts!  We who are mired in the pit take a
perverse delight in seeing our Lord suffer for our sake.

Christ holds us to a higher standard; He remains above sin;
He speaks directly to God; He claims to be God's Son; and we
reject Him for this; and mock Him.  We do not move to assist Him;
let God rescue Him.

As our psalmist says, “He relied on the Lord – let God deliver him;
let God rescue him, if He loves him.”  These are the same words
used by those who conspired against Jesus when He was dying
on the cross.  They did not realize that the suffering and death
of an innocent servant would restore life for sinful man.  The words
they spoke were to be fulfilled, not by Jesus coming down from
the cross, but by sinful humanity like us being delivered, forgiven,
and lifted up along with God's Son.

We are reminded by St Paul in today's 2nd reading (Philippians 2)
that Christ takes the form of a slave, obedient even to death for
our sake.   And the prophet Isaiah in our 1st reading (Isaiah 50)
speaks about the Messiah long before His birth and predicts that
He will be beaten and His beard will be plucked.  But, as Isaiah
tells us, the suffering servant does not rebel.  He knows that He will
not be put to shame.  The Father is not far off, even when Jesus
lies hanging on the cross.

We know that what seemed like a moment of weakness for Christ
became a source of strength for the rest of us.  As our psalmist says,
“You Lord do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "All who see me scoff at me."  Are you one 

of those  who mocked Christ?   Can you identify with those who wagged
their heads  and shouted "Let God deliver him; let God rescue him."   Explain.

2.  The verses of the Psalm are a plea to the Lord, "Be not far from me; 

O my help, hasten to aid me."   Give an example of a time when you have
called out to God to hurry and rescue you.