Monday, February 23, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, March 1, 2015


Psalm 116:  10, 15, 16-17, 18-19  (Read)

“ I believed, even when I said, I am greatly afflicted.” 



This Sunday's Psalm recalls words Abraham might have 
prayed when he was called on to sacrifice his son Isaac. 
“I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving; I will pay my vows to 

the Lord.”  Who else could have kept the faith at a time like that?  
Yet Abraham’s devotion to the Lord did not waver.  (Genesis 22:10-12)
We may not be called upon to offer up so heavy a sacrifice,
but we are commanded to listen to God’s son, and to imitate Him.

Abraham may have used words like those of our psalmist,
“I believed even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted.'”  

God relented and provided a substitute for Isaac,
“Too costly in the eyes of the Lord is the death of the faithful.”
But God did not spare His own son, as St Paul reminds us in
Sunday's 2nd reading. (Romans 8:32)

And for whom did God sacrifice His son Jesus?  It was for us 

that God handed over His beloved Son.  Jesus’ death on the 
cross has given us life.  As people of faith we are chosen by God 
for life.  We pray that we are not put to the test as Abraham was,
but we might at least, as the Psalm says, “Pay our vows to the 

Lord in the presence of all His people.”

The psalmist says, “O Lord, I am your servant; you have loosed 

my bonds.”   We too are made free by becoming the Lord's servant. 
That is how it is when we follow His commandments and do His will.  

It is not something that binds us.  Rather, it is something that sets us free.
We take delight in serving the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks of the power of his faith, even in the darkest of times,
"I believed, even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.'"   Give an example of
 how your faith has strengthened you in difficult times.

2.  The Psalm says, 'O Lord, I am your servant; you have loosed my bonds.'  
Explain how it is that, having been freed from your chains, you wish to serve
the Lord and become yoked to Him.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, February 22, 2015


Psalm 25:  4-5, 6-7, 8-9  (Read)

“Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth  

to those who keep your covenant."

This Sunday’s Psalm is a prayer for forgiveness
and guidance, a good way to begin the season 

of Lent.  Our psalmist David recalls the covenant 
the Lord made with Noah (Genesis 9:8-15), and 
David writes, “Remember your compassion and love, O Lord, for they are ages old.”

Later in the psalm David affirms, “Good and 

upright is the Lord, thus He shows sinners the way.”  
Who else could lead us out of the pit of our sins but 
God’s Son, the righteous one who suffered for us, 
the unrighteous ones, as St Peter reminds us in this 
Sunday's 2nd reading. (1 Peter 3:18-22)  Peter says 
Baptism doesn’t remove the dirt from our bodies; 
it doesn’t remove our sinful nature.  But it does allow us 
to receive the Holy Spirit within us, because without 
the Spirit, we are powerless against the Devil.

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 come to share in His divinity.  Who else
would have such regard for sinners, for believers who
disobey him?  It is He who encourages us when our 

tongues confess – “The Lord guides the humble rightly,
and teaches the humble His way.”

In this Sunday's Gospel, our Lord Jesus tells us what we 

are to do as we prepare for the most important season 
of the year, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”  (Mark 1:15)
And in response we join with our psalmist and say,
“You are God my Savior.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection 

1.  Our Psalm speaks of being taught by the Lord
("Teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me;
He teaches the humble His way.")   Are you a good student of the Lord?
Tell about what you have learned or are learning from the Lord.

2.  According to our psalmist, the Lord "shows sinners the way."
As we enter the season of Lent, we could all use some guidance
and help as we strive for repentance and to be bolder in our faith.
Explain what you will do during Lent to become a more obedient
Christian and a better witness for your faith.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, February 15, 2015

Psalm 32:  1-2, 5, 11  (Read)

“I confess my faults to the Lord.”                                                                                                  


This Sunday's Psalm is one of David’s
penitential psalms.  David sings out about
the heaviness of his sin that weighs upon him
so long as he keeps silent.  The Psalmist’s sins
were hidden in his heart.  Then, when he declares
his sin, and confesses his faults, his burden
is lifted and his guilt is taken away.

David’s sins may not have been so obvious
as the sores on the lepers described in this
Sunday's lst reading.  (Leviticus 13:1-2)
But like those same lepers, David is compelled
to cry out, “Unclean, unclean,” and to seek
God’s forgiveness in order to be healed. 
Just as David throws himself on the mercy
of the Lord, so does the leper in today's Gospel,
who kneels before Jesus and moves the
Lord to pity.  (Mark 1:40-41)

The leper in the Gospel shouts for joy after he
is made clean.  The same thing can happen to us
when we receive the Sacrament of Confession
and we are made clean inside.  We may not be joyful
for the same reasons as the leper, but as Jesus says,
it is what's inside our hearts that needs to be purified.
And having been cleansed from within,
we really have something to be joyful about.

We are all pitiful in the sight of Christ,
but once on our knees, having confessed and repented
of our sins, there is hope for us whose sins are forgiven.
As it says in the Psalm,  “Blessed is he whose fault
is taken away, whose sin is covered.”

We all need a spiritual cleansing from time to time
if we are to obtain a pure heart.  They say confession
is good for the soul, and from what the Psalm tells us,
confessing our faults will lead us to be glad
in the Lord and rejoice. 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  This Sunday's Psalm Response is, "I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, 

and you fill me with the joy of salvation."  Tell of a 'time of trouble' in your life 
when you turned to the Lord, confessed your faults, and were filled with 
the 'joy of salvation.'

2.  Our psalmist is grateful for God's gift of forgiveness; having confessed his sin 

before God, he is a new creation thanks to the grace of God.  Give an example 
of how your anxiety over your sin ceases when you bow down and confess 
your faults to the Lord.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, February 8, 2015


Psalm 147:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6  (Read)

“Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”                                                                



The Psalm says that the Lord “rebuilds Jerusalem”
and “heals the brokenhearted, binds up our wounds.”
There is comfort in these words for all of us.  The Psalm 

points to the healing power of Jesus, our Lord and Savior,
which is depicted in this week’s Gospel.  (Mark 1:29-39)

We too can be rebuilt from the inside out by the promise 

of our Lord's salvation.  It is surely by the grace of God
that we are made well.  It is God's grace that drives the 

demons out of us; there is no room in our hearts for both 
the Holy Spirit and the demons.  And we obtain God's grace
from the sacraments, which empower us to be well physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.

There is even hope for someone beaten down like Job,
whom we hear about in today's 1st reading. (Job 7:1-4, 6-7)
Like Job we may be poor in spirit, but it is at our moment 

of greatest weakness that the Lord will call us by name –
“He numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.”

Having put our trust in the Lord, He will sustain us, 

“The Lord sustains the lowly.”  Once we realize that the Lord 
takes care of the lowly (for we are His sheep), we can not help
but praise God, preach the Gospel, and boast in our faith as 
does St Paul. (1 Corinthians 9:16-18, 23)

Our Psalmist says it well – “How good to sing praise to God;
how pleasant to give fitting praise.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is, 'Praise the Lord, who heals 

the brokenhearted.'  Explain how the verses of the Psalm give you hope 
that the Lord will 'bind up your wounds.'

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord 'calls each of the stars by name.' 
Does this verse give you comfort that our Creator also knows your name
and seeks you out despite the infinite size of the universe? What does this
verse mean to you?