Monday, March 16, 2015
Psalm for Sunday, March 22, 2015
Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 14-15 (Read)
“Create a clean heart in me, O God.”
This Sunday's Psalm is David’s mea culpa
and is written after Nathan calls attention
to David’s adultery with Bathsheba. We are
shown in the Psalm that although David was
chosen by God to be king, even David sins
gravely. But God in His compassion and
goodness can blot out David’s offense,
no matter how grave.
David realizes that only God, in His mercy,
can cleanse David from his sins. David’s sins,
like our own, are offensive to God first and
foremost; we are all born of a sinful nature.
David calls on the Lord to blot out his offense,
knowing that the Lord, in His abundant
compassion, will wash away his guilt.
David’s words are a prayer of repentance and recall
for us the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“A clean heart create for me, O God; renew within me
a steadfast spirit. Give me back the joy of your salvation.”
Where else can we turn when we are separated from God?
Who else has the healing power to cleanse us?
“Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me
your Holy Spirit.” David reminds us that without the Holy
Spirit we are ruled by the desires of this world. And without
the Holy Spirit we cannot bear the fruits of the Spirit,
which we are called to do.
The people of Jeremiah’s time were given the assurance
that David sought. They were assured that the Lord would
forgive their evildoing, their own infidelity to God, and that
their sin would be remembered no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
On David's part we can almost hear his loud cries and see
his tears, as he offers this psalm as prayer and seeks his
own inner renewal. When Christ was in the flesh, this is
how He himself prayed, as we are reminded in Sunday's
second reading. (Hebrews 5:7)
David prays that God will create for him a clean heart,
because God alone can bring about this transformation.
We, too, are called to seek our Savior’s mercy for our sinful
ways, especially during this Lenten season. We, too, are
given an opportunity to be restored in the joy of His Salvation,
to offer up what is dead within us, so that we can again bear
fruit and be good witnesses for the Lord. (John 12: 24)
In that way, we will then teach the wicked, God's ways,
and our mouths will proclaim His praise.
Discussion Questions for Reflection
1. Our psalmist King David cites the greatness of the Lord's compassion in calling
upon God to wipe out his offense. Even though David was an adulterer and
a murderer, he knew that he could call upon the Lord to restore him and create
for him a clean heart. Does this give you confidence that no matter how serious
your sins may be, you can call upon God to be thoroughly cleansed? Explain.
2. As our psalmist implies, it is not enough to call upon God to create a clean
heart within us. We must also ask for a steadfast spirit, for the Holy Spirit to be
sustained within us. Tell how the Holy Spirit is working within you and what you
are inspired to do through the gifts of the Spirit.