Monday, April 24, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, April 30, 2017


 Psalm 16: 1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11  (Read)

“With the Lord at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.”


In this psalm David expresses his joy and enthusiasm
for a life lived in the presence of God.  For us too, 
God is the source of our joy.  So long as we choose 
God and follow his Word, we too will be offered
that allotted cup of blessings that David refers to,
“Lord, my allotted portion and my cup,
you have made my destiny secure.”

St Peter cites the Psalm's verses in today’s 1st reading,
and Peter affirms that David's verses speak of the
resurrection of Christ. (Acts 2: 25-28, 31)
A key reference for Peter is Verse 10 of the Psalm,
“You will not suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption,”

Death is destroyed; our faith in everlasting life with our 
resurrected Lord is confirmed.  As David says, “I set the 
Lord ever before me; abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.”

For us too these are encouraging words.  The Lord promises,
if we are his faithful servants, that we will not have to see the pit;
He will not abandon us.  As David says, this is enough to make 
our hearts glad and our souls rejoice.

When the Lord is with us, do not our hearts burn within us, 
as the two disciples declare on the road to Emmaus in today's 
Gospel? (Luke 24:32)
Our burdens are made light; His yoke is easy, and that gladdens
the heart and strengthens the body.   We raise a song of praise 
to our risen Savior!


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm 's verses  affirm that we who are His faithful ones will remain in the 
presence of our Lord forever.  Speak of how you are encouraged by the Psalm's promises.

2.  Our psalmist inspires us to set the Lord ever before us and if we do so, "My soul rejoices, my body too abides in confidence."   How do you go about putting the Lord first in your life despite 

all the worldly distractions that surround us.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, April 23, 2017


Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24  (Read)

“I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the Lord came to my help.”


Once again we visit this powerful psalm of praise
and thanksgiving. This time the verses stress
the enduring love that God has for us – so much so
that despite the part we played in crucifying His son,
God went ahead and carried out His plan to save us.
“God’s mercy endures forever.”

“I was hard pressed and falling, but the Lord came
to my help.” This verse could be about us.   Are we
any different from our psalmist, any less desperate
or in need of the Lord's healing power and presence
in our lives?

“My strength and my courage is the Lord.” He is
present to us, just as He was in those early days of the
church described in today's 1st reading (Acts 2: 42-47),
and in the Gospel (John 20: 19-31). We may not have
the awesome experience of physically putting our hand
in the Lord’s side and our fingers into the nail marks
on His hand, but He is with us.

We are victorious over death. The Lord’s deliverance
is cause for joy.  Just when we were down, the Lord raises
us up. “I was hard pressed and falling, but the Lord has
been my Savior.” The joyful shout of victory is heard.

We are on firm ground after all – Christ has become our
cornerstone, as our psalmist reminds us. Christ has become
a source of strength for us, despite His apparent weakness
that day on the cross, when He died a shameful death.

The Lord is present to us when we are frightened as He
was present to those frightened disciples in the upper room.
Who would have been more hard pressed and falling
than they were before Jesus appeared to them and blessed 
them and extended His peace to them? That same source of 
strength and might the psalmist speaks of is available to us; 
all we have to do is open our hearts and receive His saving grace.
As Peter tells us in today's 2nd reading (1 Peter 1: 3-9), Christ’s 
resurrection gives us a living hope and a powerful faith. This is
cause for rejoicing: “By the Lord has this been done; it is
wonderful in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made.”
Along with the disciples and the early church, “Let us be glad
and rejoice in it.”

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist was 'hard pressed and falling,' but affirms that
the Lord has been 
his savior.   Describe how you have been saved by the Lord and given strength and 
courage by Him.

2.  The Psalm declares, "The joyful shout of victory is heard."   Speak of what makes 
you joyful during this Easter season, and tell of how you have shouted and rejoiced 
in the Lord's resurrection.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Psalm for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017


Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23  (Read)

“The right hand of the Lord 
has struck with power.” 

The Psalm celebrates a great 
victory over death. The victory 
is won by the Lord’s 'right hand,' 
a clear advance notice of the 
power of the Son of God.

“I shall not die, but live, and 
declare the works of the Lord.” 
These could have been Jesus' 
own words, speaking about His 
resurrection and His food, which 
is to do the work of the Father.

Our risen Savior has defeated 
death and the power that sin has 
over us.  And we live on in His 
kingdom.  Having become yoked 
to Jesus, we willingly praise God 
and follow His direction in our lives.

We may ask, “Having been saved, what are we
obliged to do? What is our commission?”
In today's first reading, St Luke tells us what we  
are commissioned to do – we are to preach to 
the people and testify that Jesus is the one 
anointed by God. (Acts 10:42) 

We are an Easter people; Christ has become our
cornerstone.  As the psalmist says, “The stone the
builders rejected has become the corner stone.”
The mystery is that Christ has become a source of
strength for us, despite His apparent weakness that
day on the cross, when He died a shameful death.
Only the Lord could have done this remarkable
thing – “This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist affirms, "I shall declare the works of the Lord."  Tell what this verse 
means to you.  How are you going about doing the work of the Lord?

2.  The Psalm declares, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the 

cornerstone."  Speak about how our Savior is like a rock in your life and how you 
build your life around Jesus.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, April 9, 2017


Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24  (Read) 

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

David writes this psalm almost as though these 
verses are to be part of the Passion of Christ. 
The psalm even becomes the prayer of Christ 
at the time of His crucifixion and speaks of the 
suffering that our Savior experiences on our behalf.

People are the same today as they were back 
then, when Jesus was being led to the cross. 
We scoff  at Him; we mock Him; we wag our 
heads; and hurl insults at Him.

Why?   Because He became sin; He took our 
sins upon himself and become contemptible 
in our eyes.  He reminds us that we are a sinful 
people; He convicts us; He catches us in the lie;  
He embarrasses us; He exposes us; He accuses 
us  of being hypocrites.  The truth hurts!  We who 
are mired in the pit take a  perverse delight in 
seeing our Lord suffer for our sake.

Christ holds us to a higher standard; He remains 
above sin; He speaks directly to God; He claims 
to be God's Son; and we reject Him for this; and 
mock Him. We do not move to assist Him;
let God rescue Him.

As our psalmist says, “He relied on the Lord – 
let God  deliver him; let God rescue him, if He 
loves him.”   These are the same words used by 
those who  conspired against Jesus when He was 
dying on the cross. They did not realize that the 
suffering and death of an innocent servant would 
restore life for sinful man. The words they spoke 
were to be fulfilled, not by Jesus coming down from
the cross, but by sinful humanity like us being 
delivered, forgiven, and lifted up with God’s Son.

We are reminded by St Paul in today's second reading
that Christ takes the form of a slave, obedient even to death 
for our sake. (Philippians 2:7 And the prophet Isaiah in our 
first reading  speaks about the Messiah long before his birth 
and predicts that He will be beaten and His beard will be 
plucked. (Isaiah 50:6)   But the suffering servant does not rebel 
(as Isaiah tells us).  He knows that He will not be put to shame.  
The Father is not far off, even when Jesus lies hanging on the cross.

We know that what seemed like a moment of weakness for Christ
became a source of strength for the rest of us.  As our psalmist says,
“You Lord do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.”

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "All who see me scoff at me."  Are you one 
of those  
who mocked Christ?   Can you identify with those who wagged their heads  
and shouted, "Let God deliver him; let God rescue him."   Explain.

2.  The verses of the Psalm are a plea to the Lord, "Be not far from me;   
O my help, hasten to aid me."   Give an example of a time when you have  
called out to God to hurry and rescue you.