Monday, June 23, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, June 29, 2014


Psalm 34:  2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)
“When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, 

and from all his distress He saved him.”

Just as the Lord delivers St Peter from his 

captors (1st reading), so He delivers us from
whatever sinful habits hold us captive.

“Let my soul glory in the Lord; that the poor

may hear and be glad.”  The word poor is 
said to apply to one who depends completely 
on God for his deliverance and his very life. 
That’s where St Peter stood also in the early 
stages of his apostolic journey, totally dependent 
on God for the strength to walk the walk that 
was planned for him (1st reading, Acts 12: 1-11).  
And if the truth is to be known, that’s where 
we stand even today, when we are short of 
endurance along our spiritual journey.  
Fortunately, God provides the inner strength 
we need to complete our own spiritual journey 
when we get bogged down.

Our psalmist David recounts for us how he gained 

deliverance, “I sought the Lord, who answered me, 
and delivered me from all my fears.”  Despite the 
anguish in David’s voice, the Psalm's verses speak 
of a promise of joy, “Look to God that you may be
radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame.”

In Sunday's 2nd reading St Paul is rescued from the lion's 

mouth and is empowered by the Lord to finish the race, to 
keep the faith, to complete the proclamation.  In his own words,
“The Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” (2 Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18)

The Psalm assures us that our prayers are heard if we have

a right relationship with the Lord, “The angel of the Lord will 
rescue those who fear him.” This verse is David's affirmation 
of total confidence.  The angel of the Lord will be sent to deliver
the poor one who cries out.   Both Saints Peter and Paul
know how weak they really are, but given their trust in God's 

strength, both saints know the happiness of taking refuge in God.   
We follow in their footsteps, “Blessed the man who takes 
refuge in the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of the comfort that we
obtain by taking refuge in the Lord.   Speak of how
you have tasted and seen how good the Lord is when
you seek His deliverance.

2.  Our psalmist prays that his soul will glory in the Lord,
that the lowly will hear him and be glad.  Tell of how you
have given witness to those who are struggling spiritually.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, June 22, 2014


Psalm 147:  12-13, 14-15, 19-20 (Read)
“With the best of wheat he fills you."         

God has been a provider to His people
ever since He created us.  But the beauty
of His providence is that He provides for us
spiritually as well as physically.  During the
Liturgy of the Eucharist, as the gifts are
being prepared, the priest says,
“Through your goodness we have this bread
to offer, which earth has given, it will become
for us the bread of life.”

We are nourished by the Eucharist, by the body
and blood of our Lord Jesus.  And that is where
our life comes from, our hope, our salvation.
All we have to do is receive Him with a clean heart
and avoid partaking of the “table of demons” (1 Cor 10: 20).

Our Lord's body is real food, and when we eat it
we are given a share in the divine life.  During
the Mass the celebrant prays, “By the mystery
of this water and wine may we come to share in
the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself
to share in our humanity.”

St Paul says in our 2nd reading we all “partake
of the one loaf” (1 Cor 10: 17).  We share in
the bread of life, and our Savior's body is a
source of nourishment for us.  This Sunday's
Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the living bread
from heaven.   Praise God!


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks of our Lord as being a good provider; He fills 

us with the best of wheat.  Speak of how you are nourished by the real 
food of the Eucharist.

2.  Our psalmist declares that God's word runs swiftly as the Lord sends 

forth His command to the earth.  These verses allude to the power of 
God's word in our lives.   Tell of how you receive the word of God and how
it affects you.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daniel 3:  52, 53, 54, 55, 56 (Read)

“Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”


This week's Psalm is taken from the book of Daniel.  
The verses are an excerpt from the songs of Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abednego who have been thrown into 
the fiery furnace by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
These three young Jewish men refuse to worship the god

of Nebuchadnezzar, nor will they worship the golden statue
that has been set up by the King.  As a consequence they 

are cast into a white hot furnace by the King.

But these brave young men are seen walking about in the 

flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord, using the words
in this week's Responsorial.  An angel of the Lord goes down 

into the furnace and makes the inside of the furnace as though
a “dew laden breeze were blowing through it.”  So the fire in 
no way  touches or causes them pain or harm.

These three in the furnace with one voice sing, glorifying and 

blessing God.   The unwavering faith of the three makes a 
strong impression on King Nebuchadnezzar when he sees 
that these three young servants of God have trusted in God 
and yielded their bodies, rather than serve or worship the 
Babylonian god or a golden statue.  The King himself is so 
overwhelmed that he undergoes a conversion and exclaims, 
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” 

The verses of the Psalm affirm the power of God's love for us.  

We too are inspired to respond with the words of the  three 
young Jewish men in the fiery furnace.  Each day we 
encounter our own trial by fire and emerge unscathed.   
“Blessed are you, O Lord, praiseworthy and exalted above
 all forever.”

Just as the men in the furnace were in awe of the glory
of the Lord, who sent an angel to rescue them, we too
stand in awe of the loving presence of our God.  Helpless
without the strength of God in our lives, we focus not on
our own predicaments, but on the greatness of our God,
“Blessed are you O Lord.  Glory and praise forever!”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The verses of the Responsorial are songs of Shadrach, 

Meshach,and Abednego, who are rescued from the fiery furnace.  
We all encounter trial by fire when we live our faith.  Speak of your
own rescue by the power of the Lord.

2.  Daniel relates the story of King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion 

after he observes the inspiring witness of the three young Jewish men.   
Tell of how your own witness inspires others to become people of faith.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, June 8, 2014 (Pentecost)


Psalm 104:  1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 (Read)

“When you send forth your spirit, they are created.”

Animated by the Spirit, the divine breath,
we who are His creatures sing of the glory
of our Creator.

“When you send forth your Spirit, you renew 

the face of the earth.” God our Creator is the 
source of all natural life. So also the Holy Spirit 
is the source of all supernatural life.  We are 
nothing without the divine breath -- “When you 
take away their breath, they perish and return 
to their dust.”

It is this same creative breath that came down
on the disciples in that locked room St Luke
speaks of in our 1st reading (Acts 2: 1-11).
The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to 

go forth and proclaim the Gospel boldly to 
men of all nations, speaking different tongues.

We too are called to be baptized in the Spirit,
and to receive the divine breath of the Lord.
Having been baptized in the Spirit, we are a
new creation, and are called to glorify the Lord
in what we do.  In this way, as the Psalm says,
“May the Lord be glad in His works.”

Fortunately, for us too, the Spirit is manifested
in each of us for some benefit, as St Paul reminds
us in our 2nd reading (1 Cor 12: 3-7, 12, 13).
All we have to do is accept Christ and believe in him.

Without the breath of the Holy Spirit, we have
no spiritual life.  But thanks to God's gift, we are
a new creation; we are baptized into Christ,
and we share in the divinity of our Lord.
And that alone gives us reason to praise God.
As our psalmist says, “Pleasing to Him be my theme;
I will be glad in the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm affirms that the Lord sends out His Spirit to renew 

the face of the earth.   Tell of how you are affected by your having
received the Holy Spirit that is living on the inside of you.

2.  Our psalmist prays that the Lord will be glad in His works!   What 

works are you doing that makes you one of those who are pleasing 
to the Lord?