Monday, September 25, 2017

Psalm for October 1, 2017


“Good and upright is the Lord, 
who shows sinners the way.” 

We are blessed to have a God 
who does not disregard us.
On the contrary, He is 
a caring, compassionate God, 
willing to humble Himself 
to share in our humanity, 
so that we might share in 
His divinity.  Who else would 
have such regard for sinners, 
for believers who disobey Him?

The Lord is talking to all of us 
here; we are all sinners.  
Jesus was criticized for 
consorting with sinners, 
but He replied that 
the sick (people like us) 
are the ones who need a 
physician.  We are all able 
to benefit from the healing 
power of Jesus.

Our psalmist says,  “Make known 
to me your ways, Lord; 
teach me your paths.” 
The prophet Ezekiel, in Sunday's
first reading, tells us that 
if we follow the Lord's way,
we will be able to turn away 
from sin and avoid death.
(Ezekiel 18: 31)
The psalmist prays to God, 
“Remember no more the sins 
of my youth; remember me only 
in light of your love.”  
And in Sunday's Gospel,  
Jesus tells us how a young 
man became right with God 
after having disobeyed Him.   
(Matthew 21: 31)

And where does the power come from 
to turn away from sin?  
It comes from the Lord, “He shows 
sinners the way.”   It is He who 
encourages us when our tongues confess, 
“The Lord guides the humble rightly, 
and teaches the humble the way.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  As the Psalm says, our Lord shows us sinners the way; we pray that 

He will teach us His paths.   What leads you to follow the Lord's truth?

2.  Our psalmist petitions God to remember not the psalmist's frailties or 

the sins of his youth.   How is the Lord's compassion shown in your life?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 24, 2017


“Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.”

When we reflect on what 
God has done for us,
we remember that God 
has always done good
things for us.   That is 
God's nature.  As the Psalm 
says,  “His greatness is 
unsearchable.”  And so 
we pray this psalm to 
bless, praise, and exalt 
the heavenly Father in 
His perfection and in 
His works.

Our psalmist dwells on 
the everlasting nature of God,
on His love and presence 
throughout all time, and we 
are called to praise the Lord 
forever and ever.
Our psalmist reminds us, 
“The Lord is good to all 
and compassionate 
toward all His works.” 
We know this inherently 
because we live our lives 
within an unending stream 
of divine love.

“The Lord is near to all 
who call upon him.”
His presence is shown 
in the help, nourishment, 
and salvation that He shows 
to us.  The prophet Isaiah 
urges us, “Seek the Lord 
while He may be found, 
call Him while He is near.”
(Isaiah 55: 6)

We praise God because of 
His divine attributes
of compassion and love.
And fortunately for us, 
the Son shares fully in 
the perfection and works 
of the Father.  So we also 
sing this psalm in honor of 
Christ our Savior, Who shares 
fully in the perfection of God,
and in the works of the Father,


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist assures us, 'The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.'   
This verse requires us to make the extra effort to reach out to God if we want to be in His presence.  Tell of how you have reached out to the Lord and what has been the result.

2.  The Psalm calls upon us to praise His name forever and ever.  Say how you go about praising the Lord in your daily life.  Give examples.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 17, 2017


"Not according to our sins 
does He deal with us."

Our psalmist sings the praises
of a divine and loving God, 
who surrounds us with 
compassion, pardons our sins, 
heals our ills.
He nurses no lasting anger, 
He has not dealt with us as our 
sins deserve.  Our duty is to 
remain faithful to the Lord, 
as we are 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 the Father.  The Psalm 
tells us how:  
“Merciful and gracious is the Lord,
Slow to anger and abounding in kindness.”

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 psalmist speaks about.

As the Psalm says, God’s love towers 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.
The Psalm says it well:
As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He put our transgressions behind us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm speaks of a loving and compassionate God,
who does not deal with us according to our sins.   Are you able
to treat those who have harmed you in the same way?  Explain.

2.  The verses of the Psalm remind us of the power of the
Sacrament of Reconciliation, "As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He put our transgressions behind us."  Relate how the
Sacrament works for you to put your sins behind you.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Psalm for Sunday, September 10, 2017


Psalm 95:  1-2, 6-7, 8-9  (Read)

"Oh that today you would hear 
his voice."
Knowing God's will is hard enough;
discernment is a gift from God.
But even if we are gifted enough to
be able to discern God 's will,
will we have the courage and 
conviction to actually do His will?  
In Sunday's first reading Ezekiel is enjoined
by the Lord to warn the wicked among
the house of Israel and try to turn them from
their ways. (Ezekiel 33: 7-9)
In the Gospel, too, Jesus instructs the disciples
how to deal with a brother who sins against
a disciple. (Matthew 18: 15-17)
Doing the will of God must have been difficult 
even for the prophet Ezekiel.
How much more so is the will of God 
a challenge for ordinary people like us?
Even the disciples must have been in awe 
of what Jesus was commanding them to do.
Our spiritual history is full of occasions
where the faithful were known to have
hardened their hearts and refused to listen
to God's voice, though they had seen
His works, as our psalmist mentions.
But after all, He is our God, as the Psalm says,
and we are the people He shepherds.
Our job is to kneel before the Lord who
made us and to carry out His will the best
we can.   And if we are careful to listen to 
His voice, He will empower us to do His will, 
just as Jesus empowered the disciples 
to rise up to the challenge of the Great 
Commission and to become ordinary men 
performing extraordinary deeds.

Discussion Questions for Reflection
1.  Our psalmist encourages us not to harden our hearts if we hear God's voice.   Do you find it difficult sometimes to carry out God's will in your life even if you believe He is speaking to you?   Give an example.
2.  The Psalm reminds us that we are like sheep and the Lord is our shepherd.   Are you willing to be just an ordinary sheep among His flock?  If so, what does it mean to you to be shepherded by the Lord?