Monday, August 3, 2015
Psalm for Sunday, August 9, 2015
Psalm 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (Read)
“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”
What does Jesus tell us to do in this week’s Gospel? “Whoever eats this bread [my flesh] will live forever.” (John 6:51) However difficult Jesus’ words may have been for the Jews to accept (or for us), the psalmist is right when he says, “Blessed the man who takes refuge in Him.” Where else would we turn when we are in distress?
The Psalm says, “When the afflicted man called out,
the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.”
Just as the Lord answered Elijah and delivered him
from his despair (1st reading), so He delivers us from
whatever has bogged us down spiritually.
The psalmist prays, “My soul will 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 Elijah
stood that day in the early stages of his long journey,
totally dependent on God for the strength to walk the
walk that was planned for him (1 Kings 19:4-8).
And if the truth were to be known, that’s where we stand
even today, when we are short of endurance
along our spiritual journey.
The psalmist 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 the psalmist’s
voice, there is also a powerful, joyful spirit – “Look to God
that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not
blush with shame.”
Where does our joy come from? How do we obtain a
joyful spirit? It comes from repenting and returning to
the Lord. Only then can we be embraced by the Lord.
Having humbled ourselves before Him, confessed our
sins, He takes us back.
He watches for us each day, encouraging us.
He reconciles us and restores us in a right relationship
with the Father. And He provides the inner strength and
the nourishment we need to complete our own spiritual journey.
Discussion Questions for Reflection
1. Our psalmist tells us how to obtain a joyful spirit, "Look to the Lord
that you may be radiant with joy." Describe how the Lord has given you
inner joy in the course of relieving you from your afflictions.
2. The Psalm says that the angel of the Lord 'encamps' around those
who fear Him and delivers them. Speak of how your faith has been
a source of strength and deliverance in the face of difficulty or persecution.