Monday, February 29, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, March 6, 2016


Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7  (Read)

“Look to God that you may
be radiant with joy, and your
faces may not blush for shame.”

Where does our joy come from?
How do we obtain a joyful spirit?
It comes from repenting and
returning to the Lord, as the
Prodigal son returns to his father
in this Sunday's Gospel
reading. (Luke 15:11-32)
For our part, we too will be
embraced by the Father if we
humble ourselves before Him,
and confess our sins. Then He will
take us back. 
Like the Prodigal's father, our Lord
watches for us each day, encouraging
us to lift our bodies out of our shame
and return to Him, to be reconciled,
to be restored, in a right relationship
with the Father. 
“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 we stand even today,
when we are short of endurance
along our own spiritual journey.

The psalmist recounts for us how
he gained deliverance, “I sought
the Lord, who answered me,
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.”

Our Father watches for us each day,
encouraging us. He reconciles us
and restores us, and He provides
the inner strength we need to
complete our own spiritual journey.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist looks to God so that his face may not blush for shame.  
Explain how you are overcoming your own shame this Lenten season, 
by looking to the Lord, repenting, and becoming radiant with joy.
2.  The Psalm's verses talk about those who are poor in spirit, totally 
dependent on God.   Speak about how you rely on the Lord for deliverance 
and are saved by the Lord.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, February 28, 2016


Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11  (Read)

“As the heavens tower over the earth, 

so God's mercy towers over those 
who fear Him.”

Our psalmist sings the praises of a 

divine and loving God, who surrounds 
us with compassion, pardons our sins, 
heals our ills.

God will deliver us as He delivered the 

Israelites from their affliction at the hands 
of the Egyptians. (Exodus 3:7-8)
“God delivers your life from the pit,
surrounds you with love and compassion.”

God nurses no lasting anger,  He has not 

dealt with us as our sins deserve.  
But God demands something of us
in return – that we cleanse ourselves
from evil desires and avoid sin.
St Paul warns us, “Whoever thinks
he is standing secure should take care
not to fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Jesus says it more powerfully in today's 

Gospel, “If you do not repent, you will 
all perish.” (Luke 13:5)

The Lord’s patience with us is a gift –
“Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
slow to anger, abounding in kindness.”
Our duty is to remain faithful to the Lord,
as His children, and to treat His anointed ones
with love and compassion, as He would do.

We are to be merciful to our enemies by
imitating Jesus.  Who can love their enemies,
and do good to them?  It will be difficult if
we allow our earthly nature to rule us.
Just as God has not dealt with us as our
sins merit, so must we have compassion
on those we may be inclined to condemn.

We cannot imitate God without a share
in Christ’s divinity, by allowing the Holy
Spirit within us to guide us.  Only then
will we have the kind of compassion the
Psalm speaks about.

And as our psalmist says, God’s love will
tower over us if we are his faithful.
If we love the Lord, it will show in our hearts,
and the old things will then pass away. 
What could be a better lesson for our
Lenten journey.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist assures us that God in His compassion will redeem our life 

from the 'pit.'  But we must do our part and show repentance.  Describe how 
during Lent you are becoming kinder and more merciful to your family and 
your neighbors.

2.  The Psalm inspires us to bless the Lord and 'forget not all His benefits.'  

Speak of your gratitude for the gifts you have received from God.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, February 21, 2016


Psalm 27: 1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14  (Read)

“Come, says my heart, seek God’s face;
Your face, Lord, do I seek!”

Our psalmist, David, puts into words
what we feel in our hearts, which is
to seek a right relationship with
the Lord.  We are drawn to the Lord;
we wish to speak to Him face to face,
to be in His presence, to listen to
His Word, and to serve Him faithfully.

We may not have the faith of Abraham

(Genesis 15:6),  but we know that 
a right relationship with the Lord is 
key for us, because without that close 
relationship, we have little chance 
of salvation.  Our psalmist knows the 
critical importance of salvation,
“Do not forsake me, God, my savior.”

Few of us will be able to speak directly
with God, but God makes himself
accessible to us through His Son, Jesus.
And in this Sunday's 2nd reading,
St Paul promises that our own bodies 

will be changed, to conform with Christ’s 
glorified body. (Philippians 3:21)
This is how our own personal transfiguration
takes place.

What can we do to be sure we share in 

Christ’s glory?  St Paul tells the brothers 
in Philippi, “Stand firm in the Lord.”  
And our psalmist agrees, “Wait for the Lord, 
take courage, be stouthearted, wait for 
the Lord.”

What better way for us to stand firm in 

the Lord than to commune with Him in 
prayer, to worship Him, to be transformed 
by Him, as were those disciples that day 
when Jesus was transfigured on the 
mountain. (Luke 9:29)  Having been 
transformed, we, like the disciples, 
will be emboldened in our faith -- 
“Of whom should I be afraid?”   
In our day to day battles against evil forces,
we need not fear anyone, for He is our refuge.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist seeks God's face.  Does your heart seek a right 

relationship with the Lord?  Speak of how you are drawn to the Lord, 
and how He makes himself accessible to you.

2.  The season of Lent can be a time of transformation for us.  But we 

cannot change our hearts by ourselves; we all need the Lord's help, 
as does our psalmist, 'You are my helper; cast me not off.'   Tell of how 
you are becoming a better person with the help of the Lord. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, February 14, 2016


Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15  (Read)
“Whoever clings to me I will deliver; 

whoever knows my name, I will set on high.”

This Sunday's Psalm is about God’s
protection of the faithful.  It applies to us 

who place ourselves under His protection 
along the path of life.  The psalmist
addresses us, “You who dwell in the shelter
of the Most High, say to the Lord, 'My refuge 

and fortress.'”

As mentioned in Sunday’s first reading, the 

Israelites were in great distress under the 
oppression of the Egyptians.  What the Lord 
did for them, He is prepared to do for us, 
“The Lord heard our cry and saw our 
affliction.”  (Deuteronomy 26:7)

In today's Gospel even the devil respects 

the power of God and His commitment to our 
security, when he quotes this verse of the Psalm, 
“For God commands the angels to guard you in
all your ways.”  (Luke 4:10)

And how do we obtain this level of protection 

amidst the snares along the way and the terror 
of the night?  We call upon the Lord, and we trust
in Him to deliver us, “Whoever clings to me I will 

deliver; whoever knows my name I will set on high.”

St Paul proclaims a similar message in Sunday's 

second reading, “Everyone who calls on the name 
of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)
The psalmist agrees and quotes the Lord,
“All who call upon me I will answer; I will be with 

him in distress; I will deliver and give him honor.”
What could be more reassuring than that?


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks about God's angels guarding us in all our ways.   

Give an example of how you have been borne up upon the wings of angels 
and given power physically or spiritually to trample down the devil and his minions.

2.  In the Psalm God says that if we cling to Him, He will deliver us and set us on high.   

Tell of what it means to you to 'cling' to the Lord, and having done so, how have you 
been made free from evil that threatens you.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Psalm for Sunday, February 7, 2016


Psalm 138:  1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8  (Read)

“Forsake not the work of your hands.”

Our psalmist David composed this
prayer with a grateful heart.  “I will 

give thanks to you, O Lord, with all 
my heart.”

David is grateful because his 

petitions are answered by the Lord.
“For you have heard the words of 

my mouth.”   The Lord's answers to 
David's prayers have come at a
critical time, a time when our
psalmist is seeking to build up
his strength.

David speaks of a divine rescue --
“When I cried out, you answered;
you strengthened my spirit.”
Perhaps we’re all in need of a
spiritual rescue of the type David
describes.  And it isn’t because of 

any of the psalmist’s virtues that he 
obtains salvation.  It is a result of 
God’s loving fidelity, “Lord, your 
love is eternal.”

Our God does not forsake the work 

of his hands, though who has given 
the Lord anything that he may be repaid?  
Unworthy as we are, and although the Lord 
is exalted,  He watches over us in our
lowly state.  And thanks be to God, his 

kindness endures forever.  St Paul says 
the same thing in today's 2nd reading, 
“But by the grace of God I am what I am.”
(1 Corinthians 15:10)

Our psalmist reminds us; all God has 

to do is stretch out his right hand, and 
we will be saved.  “You stretch out your 
hand, your right hand saves me.”  
In today's Gospel reading, our Lord Jesus
reaches out to Simon Peter, who is
empowered to become a true apostle and
a catcher of men by following the Lord.
(Luke 5:10)

Our psalm concludes in a grateful and
affirming theme, showing how Peter
probably felt,  as he fell on his face 

at the feet of the Lord that day by the lake.
“The Lord is with me to the end.
Lord your love endures forever,
never forsake the work of your hands.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist affirms, 'When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.'   Speak of your own experience
when you were in need of the Lord's help to build up your spiritual vigor.

2.  David pleads with God, 'Forsake not the work of your hands.'  As a child 

of God, tell of how you can expect the Lord to love you forever unconditionally.