Monday, September 29, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, October 5, 2014


Psalm 80:  9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20 (Read)  

"O Lord, take care of this vine." 

The Psalm is a prayer to restore the Israelites to God’s vineyard.   
The chosen people have lost God’s protection; God has removed 
the hedge that He put up around them.

“God brought a vine out of Egypt and planted it.”  But what kind 

of fruit did God’s vineyard bear?  The prophet Isaiah says in 
our 1st reading that despite all of God’s efforts, nothing but wild
grapes was produced. (Isaiah 5:2)    And so God broke down the
vineyard’s walls, letting, “The boar strip the vine, and the beast 
feed upon it.”

There is a message here for all of us who do not bear fruit or 

use our resources wisely.  We could lose God’s protection, 
and we may not be able to defend ourselves from the evil one 
that prowls around like a roaring lion.

We, like the psalmist, need to beg for God’s mercy.
“Turn again, O Lord of hosts, attend to this vine.”
If we’re not careful, the kingdom will be taken away 

from us, as it was in the Gospel, and given to a people
that will produce its fruit.  (Matthew 21: 43)  

We, like the Israelites, need to be restored.  The Psalm's
verses pray, “Give us new life,  and we will call on your name.”

Where does our hope for revival come from?
It comes from our Savior, sent by the Lord, our cornerstone,

“The son of man whom God himself made strong.”
In Him we are restored. As the Psalm says, “Lord of hosts 

restore us; let your face shine upon us, 
that we may be saved.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm says, “Lord, take care of this vine; then we will no more withdraw 

from you.  Give us new life, and we will call upon your name.”  Have you noticed 
at times when we stray off His path how the Lord tugs at each of us so that 
we return to His ways.   Give an example from your own experience.

2.  Our psalmist is writing about the scattered people of Israel, but his words may 

apply to each of us in our separation from God.   In what way are you inspired by the 
Psalm's verses to repent and seek renewal?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, September 28, 2014


Psalm 25:  4-5, 8-9, 10, 14 (Read)

“Good and upright is the Lord, who shows sinners the way.” 


We are blessed to have a God who does not 
disregard us.  On the contrary, He is a caring, 
compassionate God, willing to humble Himself
to share in our humanity, so that we might share 

in His divinity. Who else would have such regard 
for sinners, for believers who disobey Him?

The Lord is talking to all of us here; we are all 

sinners.  Jesus was criticized for consorting 
with sinners, but He replied that the sick (people 
like us) are the ones who need a physician.
We are all able to benefit from the healing power 

of Jesus.

Our psalmist says,  “Make known to me your 

ways, Lord; teach me your paths.”  The prophet 
Ezekiel, in our 1st reading, tells us that if we follow 
the Lord's way, we will be able to turn away from 
sin and avoid death (Ezekiel 18:31).  The psalmist 
prays to God, “Remember no more the sins of my 
youth; remember me only in light of your love.”
And in the Gospel,  Jesus tells us how a young man 

became right with God after having disobeyed 
Him (Matthew 21:31).

And where does the power come from to turn away

from sin?  It comes from the Lord, “He shows sinners 
the way.” It is He who encourages us when our tongues
confess, “The Lord guides the humble rightly,
and teaches the humble the way.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  As the Psalm says, our Lord shows us sinners the way; we pray that 

He will teach us His paths.   What leads you to follow the Lord's truth?

2.  Our psalmist petitions God to remember not the psalmist's frailties or 

the sins of his youth.   How is the Lord's compassion shown in your life?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, September 21, 2014


Psalm 145:  2-3, 8-9, 17-18 (Read)

“Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.”

When we reflect on what God has done 

for us, we remember that God has always 
done good things for us.   That is God's 
nature.  As the Psalm says, “His greatness 
is unsearchable.”  And so we pray this psalm 
to bless, praise, and exalt the heavenly 
Father in His perfection and in His works.

Our psalmist dwells on the everlasting nature 

of God, on His love and presence throughout 
all time, and we are called to praise the Lord 
forever and ever.  Our psalmist reminds us, 
“The Lord is good to all and compassionate 
toward all His works.”  We know this inherently 
because we live our lives within an unending 
stream of divine love.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon him.” 

His presence is shown in the help, nourishment, 
and salvation that He shows to us.  The prophet 
Isaiah urges us, “Seek the Lord while He may be 
found, call Him while He is near.”
(Isaiah 55: 6)

We praise God because of His divine attributes
of compassion and love.  And fortunately for us, 

the Son shares fully in these divine attributes.
So we also sing this psalm in honor of Christ our 
Savior, who shares fully in the perfection of God,
and in the works of the Father,



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist assures us, 'The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.'   

This verse requires us to make the extra effort to reach out to God if we 
want to be in His presence.  Tell of how you have reached out to the Lord 
and what has been the result.

2.  The Psalm calls upon us to praise His name forever and ever.
Say how you go about praising the Lord in your daily life.  Give examples.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, September 14, 2014

Reflections (by J Kim)        

"Do not forget the works of the Lord!"

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
draws on Psalm 78, a passage that recounts 
the rebellious nature of the people of Israel.   
The Psalmist describes their forgetfulness, 
disobedience, ungratefulness, and insincere 
praise of God.  As we read such descriptions, 
we must soberly recognize our own shortcomings 
and look up to the Holy Cross to deliver us from sin. 

Beginning with Verse 34, "While he slew them 
they sought him and inquired after God again," 
we are linked to the first reading.  Numbers 21 
describes God's use of venomous snakes to punish 
the people for their unbelief and complaining.  In their 
suffering, the people turn to Moses and the Lord for help; 
Moses is instructed to make a bronze snake and put it up 
on a pole for all to see.  The people looked up, believed,
and were healed.  In the Gospel of John, the image
is brought to its full meaning:  as the Israelites were 
healed by obeying God's command to look up at the 
elevated bronze serpent, believers today can be saved
by looking up to Jesus and his death on the cross.

Unfortunately, the next verses of the Psalm detail 
the fickle nature of the Israelites.   Over and over, 
they would claim to follow God for a while and then 
turn away from him.  "But they flattered him with their 
mouths and lied to him with their tongues, though their 
hearts were not steadfast toward him, nor were they 
faithful to his covenant."  (v. 36-37).  They followed God 
with their words and not with their hearts.  

An omniscient and all-powerful God would have every 
right to be angered.  Does our Lord choose to punish
His children?  The most tender, comforting, and 
awe-inspiring answer is found in v. 38:  "But he, being
merciful, forgave their sin and destroyed them not; '
Often he turned back his anger and let none of his wrath 
be roused."  God shows mercy on the Israelites; as many 
times as they rebel, He offers love and guidance, 
sometimes, firmly.  He is the same with us today, 
exhibiting perfect patience.  We must not "forget the 
works of the Lord," but remember to seek Him and 
exalt the cross at all times, not just in seasons of dire need. 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Just like the Israelites, when have you been guilty of forgetfulness,
thanklessness, or rebellion?  What has been God's response?

2.  How do you "Exalt the Cross" in your daily life?  Or... perhaps, 
do you need to raise Him up higher for yourself and others to see?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Psalm for Sunday, September 7, 2014


Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)

"Oh that today you would hear His voice."


Knowing God's will is hard enough; 
discernment is a gift from God.  
But even if we are gifted enough
to be able to discern God 's will, 
do we have the courage and conviction 
to actually carry out His will? 

In our first reading Ezekiel is enjoined
by the Lord to warn the wicked among
the house of Israel and try to turn them
from their wicked ways (Ez 33:7-9).
In the Gospel, too, Jesus instructs the disciples
how to deal with a brother who sins against
a disciple (Mt 18:15-20).

Doing the will of God must have been difficult 

for the prophet Ezekiel; how much more so 
is the will of God a challenge for ordinary 
persons like us?  Even the disciples must have
been in awe of what Jesus was commanding

them to do.

Our spiritual history is full of occasions
where the faithful were known to have
hardened their hearts and refused to listen
to God's voice, though they had seen
His works, as our psalmist mentions.

But He is our God, as the psalm says,
and we are the people He shepherds.
Our job is to kneel before the Lord who
made us and to carry out His will the best
we can.   And if we are careful to listen to His voice,
He will empower us to do His will, just as
Jesus empowered the disciples to rise up
to the challenge of the great commission and
to become ordinary men performing extraordinary


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?