Monday, December 26, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, January 1, 2017


Psalm 67:  2-3, 5, 6, 8  (Read)
“May God bless us and may He let his face 

shine upon us.”
So much that God does for us is contained 

in this verse from the Psalm.   God gives us 
his grace through his son Jesus, who is our 
Savior.  God gives us material blessings –
all our treasure and gifts are from Him.
Moreover, He gives us spiritual blessings 

as well; these are called by St Paul the 
fruits of the spirit.

We all want God’s blessings, as the Psalm 

says.  Since the time of Moses, God’s chosen 
people have reached out for God’s blessing.
The petition in the Psalm is rooted in the early 

books of scripture; our psalmist recalls an early
priestly blessing given to Moses,  “The Lord 
let his face shine upon you and be gracious
to you.”  (Nm 6 : 25)

St Paul (2nd reading) confirms that God sent 

the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,  so we could 
cry out “Abba, Father.”  (Gal 4: 6)  
The psalm predicts that God’s saving power shall 
be known among all the nations (including ourselves).  
God conveys that same message to the Mother 
of our Lord in this week’s Gospel.  (Luke 2: 15-20) 
The shepherds from distant lands hear the news  
that our Savior is born; they return glorifying and 
praising God.  The Psalm also guides people like us 
to shout for joy,  “May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you!”

The Psalm calls for the way of the Lord to become
known upon earth among all the nations.  Indeed 

the Psalm predicts that God’s saving power shall 
be known among all the peoples.
Thankfully, that includes us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm petitions God to 'let his face shine upon us.'  What does it mean 
to you, especially during this Octave of the Nativity, that God would let his face 
shine upon you?

2.  Our psalmist calls for God's salvation to be known among all the nations.   
How would you relate this verse to the birth of our Savior?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Psalm for Christmas Day, 2016


Psalm 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6  (Read)

What better Psalm is there for us to sing 
at the Mass that celebrates our Savior’s birth?
“The Lord has made his salvation known;
He has revealed his triumph for the nations to see.”  

Isaiah tells us as well, in our 1st reading,
to break out in song,
“For the Lord comforts his people,
and redeems Jerusalem.”  (Isaiah 52: 9)
The Psalm encourages us to sing joyfully
to the Lord and to sing praise,
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
break into song, sing praise.”

The Letter to the Hebrews (our 2nd reading)
tells us that God speaks to us
through the Son, and that Jesus takes his seat
at the right hand of the Father.  (Hebrews 1: 2-3)
And the Psalm, in a prophetic way,
glorifies God’s right hand –
“[The Lord’s] right hand and holy arm
have won the victory.”

“[The Lord] has done marvelous deeds.”  
What could be more marvelous
than the birth of our savior?
The Son of God is to be the light of the world,
as St John tells us in the Gospel.  (John 1: 1-4)
What better reason do we have
to shout with joy to the Lord?
As the Psalm says, “Sing joyfully before the King, the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection:

1.  Our Psalm says, 'Sing to the Lord a new song.In what way do these words 

inspire you to celebrate the birth of our Savior at Christmas?  How is our song
at Christmas different from the other songs we sing?

2.  The Psalm says, 'All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God ...
sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands.'   These words imply prophetically that even 

the  Gentiles (ourselves) are included in Gods' salvation.   What does it mean to you 
to have seen the 'saving power of God?'

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, December 18, 2016


Psalm 24:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (Read) 
“Who may go up the mountain of the Lord?
Who can stand in His holy place?”

The psalm is about a journey to a holy place.
It is a place where we will meet the Lord.
But we are asked, “Who can ascend the
mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in
His holy place?”

During Advent we become aware that although
we may not have to climb a holy mountain to meet
the Lord, we must prepare to receive Him in
our hearts.  In fact the Psalm is guiding us to
prepare ourselves from within, so that we are
made ready to receive Him when He comes.

This is what our Advent time is about --

preparing ourselves to receive the Lord.
Just as St Paul in our 2nd reading was made ready
to receive “The grace of apostleship,” we too are
called to open our hearts to the Lord.
(Romans 1: 1-7)

What must we do?
We must cleanse our hearts.
The verses of the Psalm say, “The clean of hand
and pure of heart who has not given his soul to
useless things … will receive blessings from the Lord.”
We are all unworthy to be in the Lord's presence,
but at least we can cleanse ourselves through Confession,
and bathe in the Word.  That is how we show our love
for the Lord.

The Psalm calls for the coming of the king of glory,
just as the Gospel calls for the birth of Jesus. (Matthew 1: 18-24)
Who will enter His kingdom?  Our psalmist tells us
that those who love the Lord and those who seek
God's face will receive their reward from God our savior.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm Response asks us, "Let the Lord enter;
He is the king of glory."   How do you prepare yourself
during Advent so that the king of glory can enter your heart?

2.  Our psalmist speaks of a people that seeks the Lord,
that seeks the face of God.   Describe what you are doing
to seek out the Lord in your family and in your community.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, December 11, 2016


Psalm 146:  6-7, 8-9, 9-10  (Read)

“The Lord God keeps faith forever.”

The Psalm tells us that our long journey
of waiting and petitioning the Lord has
come to an end.  For us, then, the Psalm
is about the time of Advent, when the
promises of Isaiah and the other prophets 

are fulfilled. (Isaiah 35: 1-6, 10)
The coming of Jesus means for us that 
we who are afflicted will be set free; 
we who are hungry will receive real food.

Why do we trust in God and not princes of
this world?  Because, “The Lord God keeps
faith forever; He gives food to the hungry.”
Who among us is not hungry for a closer
relationship with The Lord?

And, “The Lord gives sight to the blind.”
Our eyes are opened when we enter the 

kingdom.  St James tells us that our patience 
will be rewarded.  (James 5: 7-10)
And the psalm confirms this, “The Lord raises 
up those who are bowed down.” 
We are raised up with the Lord Jesus.

Our psalmist sings about God's promises to the
oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner, the blind,
and those who are bowed down in one way or
another.  We could all benefit by being set free
in the Spirit or healed, so that we are no longer
blinded.   Then we too would no longer be lame,
but would be able to leap like a stag as the
prophet Isaiah promises. (Isaiah 35: 6)

And how are the promises of the psalmist fulfilled? 
Where else but in the healing ministry of Jesus,
as the Gospel tells us.  (Matthew 11: 2-11)

Who else has the grace and the mercy to heal us?

Advent is our time to be joyful.  The coming of
the Messiah opens up a new time for us, a time
of promise.  We can celebrate with our psalmist,
“The Lord shall reign forever; your God, Zion,
through all generations!  Hallelujah!”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm's verses speak of a hopeful time when our God
will come and save us.  Tell of what it means to you to trust in
the Lord, to be set free, and to be raised up.

2.  Our psalmist promises that the Lord will give food to the
hungry.  Speak of your hunger for a closer relationship with the
Lord, and how you expect to receive real food this Advent.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, November 27, 2016


Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9  (Read)

“I rejoiced when they said to me,
'Let us go up to the house of the Lord.”

This Sunday we revisit this Psalm that sings of a 
spiritual journey to the house of the Lord, the holy 
city of Jerusalem.  In Sunday’s first reading the 
prophet Isaiah also speaks about a journey to Zion, 
to the house of God, and to God’s holy mountain.
(Isaiah 2: 2-3)   We too are called to make that 
same journey, that we may walk in His paths. 
Our psalmist says, “Our feet are standing within 
your gates, Jerusalem.”

But why are we called to make that journey?
Firstly, we stand with the Israelites who already
dream of gathering together at some future time.
But secondly, for us as Christians, the psalm is a
vision of the end times, when our spiritual
pilgrimage leads us from earth to heaven.

Our psalmist says we are called to give thanks
to the name of the Lord, but we note also there
are set up judgment seats at our destination.
For our journey ends where God resides, His
kingdom of heaven, and we must be prepared
to be in His presence.

St Paul, in Sunday’s second reading,
cautions us to throw off the works of darkness,
and to put on the armor of light, to conduct
ourselves properly as in the day, to put on the
Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13: 12-14)
Jesus himself says in this  Sunday's Gospel ,
“You must be prepared, for at an hour you do 
 not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
(Matthew 24:44)

Jerusalem in the Psalm symbolizes for us the
end of our journey, being present with the Lord.
This is what God has planned for His people --
When we arrive in God's holy city, the kingdom
of God will come to us in its fullness, and we will
live in peace. As the psalmist tells us, we will be
filled with a desire to say, "Peace be with you.”
I will pray for your good.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  As we begin a new season of Advent, the Psalm 
encourages us to be prepared 
for the time when we  will be in God's kingdom and He will be present to us.   Speak about what you are doing to prepare yourself  to be in God's holy city.

2.  As we prepare to receive the Prince of Peace within 
our midst, our psalmist asks 
us to pray for peace within  the walls of the holy city and within ourselves.  What are  you doing to ensure that you have peace within you and  how are you conveying your 
peace to others around you?