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.


  1. David’s prayer…..” A clean heart create for me, O God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Give me back the joy of your salvation.” A beautiful prayer by David. God forgave David, even after he sinned gravely, and I believe that God will do the same for all of us. We just have to ask!

    Carol and I just finished reading “The Killing of Jesus,” by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. They write as historians, and not as spiritual advisers. But the easy to read book is very powerful, and you learn an amazing amount of what it was like to be a Jew in Palestine at that time. They put you on the ground when it’s happening. Especially good to read it during Lent! It’s a current best seller.

  2. J Kim8:12 PM

    Murder and Adultery. Hardly the stuff that most of us need to confess. And yet, even a godly man as David, is guilty of such major offenses. God not only forgives these sins but restores David into a right relationship with Him. Why?

    The answer lies in the condition of David's heart. He is sincerely sorry for his sins and pours out his soul for God's mercy and grace. He confesses, desires repentance, and understands that he needs a steadfast spirit to experience joy in his walk with the Lord again.

    I am humbled and comforted by David's example. At times in my life, I have let unconfessed sin distance me from God. I pray to be made aware of the sins to bring to the Lord in Reconciliation, Adoration, or prayer time, in general. I realize that these are sins against God, not against other people. How frightful that I would knowingly choose to rebel against God!

    May the thought of God's infinite power and love keep me on the right track and be a deterrent against future sin. Even when I should fail, in my heart of hearts, I know that my Abba Father welcomes me back with loving arms when I come to Him in my shame and sorrow.

  3. God knows our inner-most secrets. First and foremost, David's sins are unforgivable and hideous as a murderer and an adulterer. Even though He is a godly man, he seems not aware of his grave sins or how much he offended God until the Prophet Nathan points out and calls attention to his sins.

    How about us ? We too all have evil desires. We still have a capacity to sin no matter how hard we try not to sin. Knowingly or unknowingly we have sinned. I have come to know one thing -- if we ask His forgiveness with a truly repentant heart, like David did, in His Mercy He forgives our offenses and sins.

    I am grateful that God sent me the Holy Spirit to convict me of wrongdoings and my offenses and to reveal my unconfessed sins. David's prayer is mine as well, "Create a clean heart in me."

    Furthermore, Our Lord promises us He will wipe away, blot out our sins, and He will remember them no more. I realize that in His Grace the healing power of God can cleanse my sins.

    Also with the help of the Holy Spirit we can bear the fruits of the Spirit. No wonder David pleads with God, "Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your Holy Spirit." In order to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance we have to crucify our sins as follows: sexual immorality, selfish ambition, dissensions, jealousy, hatred, fits of rage, idolatry and so on. Without crushing our sins and without the help of His Spirit, we can not produce the fruits of the Spirit.

    I was impatient, rude, self-righteous, and unforgiving, but the Holy Spirit showed me which areas of my life need to be healed and amended. The Holy Spirit is the source of my new life -- a transformed life. And so I can be a good witness for Lord.