Monday, January 29, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 4, 2018


Psalm 147: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6   (Read)

“Praise the Lord, who heals 
the brokenhearted.”                                                                 


The Psalm says that the Lord “rebuilds Jerusalem” 
and “heals the brokenhearted, binds up our wounds.”

There is comfort in these words for all of us.  The Psalm 
points to the healing power of Jesus, our Lord and Savior,
which is depicted in this week’s Gospel.  (Mark 1:29-39)

We too can be rebuilt from the inside out by the promise 

of our Lord's salvation.  It is surely by the grace of God
that we are made well.  It is God's grace that drives the 

demons out of us; there is no room in our hearts for both 
the Holy Spirit and the demons.  And we obtain God's grace
from the sacraments, which empower us to be well physically,
emotionally, and spiritually.

There is even hope for someone beaten down like Job,
whom we hear about in Sunday's 1st reading. (Job 7:1-4, 6-7)
Like Job we may be poor in spirit, but it is at our moment 

of greatest weakness that the Lord will call us by name –
“He numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.”

Having put our trust in the Lord, He will sustain us, 

“The Lord sustains the lowly.”  Once we realize that the Lord 
takes care of the lowly (for we are His sheep), we can not help
but praise God, preach the Gospel, and boast in our faith as 
does St Paul. (1 Corinthians 9:16-18, 23)
Our Psalmist says it well – “How good to sing praise to God;
how pleasant to give fitting praise.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm response this Sunday is, 'Praise the Lord, who heals 

the brokenhearted.'  Explain how the verses of the Psalm give you hope 
that the Lord will 'bind up your wounds.'

2.  Our psalmist says that the Lord 'calls each of the stars by name.'
Does this verse give you comfort that our Creator also knows your name
and seeks you out despite the infinite size of the universe? What does this
verse mean to you?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 28, 2018


“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Today's Psalm is about obeying and worshiping 
God.  We are urged to bow down in worship before 
our God, whose sheep we are (remember we are His 
well-tended flock).  We are instructed to be alert for 
His voice and to be receptive to His teachings 
(we need to be good listeners).

We are not to harden our hearts or test the Lord 
(as the Israelites did at Meribah).
We are to humble ourselves and open our hearts 
to the Lord; having done so we are set free.
Then we are no longer constrained by the 
things of this world, and we can be open to His love 
and His teachings.  

Moses prophesied that the Lord would speak to us 
through one of our own kind (Deuteronomy 18:18).
So we had better listen to God’s son, Jesus, who 
became one of us so that we could be more like Him.
His works should be sufficient to convince us of His
saving power and grace.

St Paul tells us we need to be free from anxiety and 
distractions (1 Corinthians 7:32).  This is not an easy 
thing to do when we are caught up in the things of the 
world.  We would all benefit from an authoritative 
cleansing of our hearts, and a removal of unclean 
forces that distract us from praising the Lord.  
Then we can make room for Jesus to fill our hearts 
and remain in us.


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?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 21, 2018


“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?  All we have to do 
is trust Him, and He will lead us back to the 
right path --
“Make known to me your ways, Lord; 
teach me your paths.”

Our psalmist David humbly
offers up his sins to God his savior,
and waits for God’s guidance. 
“The Lord guides the humble rightly, 
and teaches the humble
His way.”

In Sunday's Gospel the early disciples 
leave their nets and their families behind 
when Jesus calls out to them.  (Mark 1:16-20)
Jesus had a plan for His disciples,
when He singled them out to serve Him. 
God had a plan for Jonah as well;
His mission was to warn the people 
of Nineveh to repent and turn to the Lord.  
(Jonah 3: 1-5)

St Paul in Sunday's second reading 
has a similar message for all of us, 
that time is running out and any day now 
would be an acceptable day for us
to focus on our own salvation.  
(1 Corinthians 7: 29-31)
The Lord is there to guide us,
as He was in the days of David,
our psalmist.

Whether it's through a Jonah 
in our midst or a Saint Paul,
the message of the Lord is clear –
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
We may not be able to do this on our own,
but as our psalmist says,  
“The Lord shows sinners the way.”

The Lord is talking to all of us here; 
we are all sinners.
We are all able to benefit 
from the healing power of Jesus.
And where does the power come from 
to turn away from sin?  
It comes from the Lord;   
It is He who encourages us when 
our tongues confess, 
“Remember no more the sins of my youth; 
remember me only in light of your love.” 


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist petitions the Lord, 'Teach me your ways.'  

How do you go about learning the ways of the Lord?  Tell how 
the verses of the Psalm help you understand the ways of the Lord.

2.  Our Psalm says the Lord 'shows sinners the way.'  Give an example 

of how you have been guided by the Lord to turn away from sin and repent.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 14, 2018


“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

The Psalm is a prayer of gratitude
and of obedience to the Lord.
Our psalmist David answers God’s call
when he says, “Here I am.”
Young Samuel does the same
in our first reading.
Samuel waits expectantly
for the Lord to speak to him –
he is ‘all ears’
when he hears the Lord’s voice.
He grows up serving the Lord
and following God. (1 Samuel 3: 3-10,19)

Our psalmist says,
“He put a new song into my mouth.”
For us too it is no longer the same old tune
or the same old we.   We are in fact
a new creation, singing out the good news.

Where does our joyful spirit come from?
It comes from the Lord, and we are called
to share what He has given us and to do
His will, which is our delight.

In the Gospel reading (John 1:35-42),
Andrew recognizes Jesus as the anointed
and is drawn to Him.
Andrew and  his brother Simon
truly become members of Christ's body.
They are joined to the Lord
and have become one spirit with Him,
as St. Paul proclaims in our 2nd reading. 
(1 Corinthians 6:15,17)

We too are called to follow Christ
and to do His will.
Obedience isn’t an unpleasant chore for us;
instead as the Psalm tells us,
“To do your will is my delight.”



Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  In this beautiful Psalm our psalmist speaks of waiting, waiting for the Lord.   

Tell what it means to you to have waited for the Lord, and what has been the result
of your presenting yourself to the Lord?

2.  Our psalmist is delighted to do God's will; he says to God, "Your law is within 

my heart!"   Have you also felt the Lord's pleasure when you obey Him and serve Him?  What does it mean to you to say God's law is within my heart?


Monday, January 1, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, January 7, 2018


"Lord, every nation on earth will adore you."

This Psalm is a prayer for our newborn King. 
Our psalmist speaks of a Messiah 
who will be like the “rain coming down 
upon the fields,  like showers watering the earth.” 
Our psalmist prays that our newborn King 
will be anointed by God with divine judgment 
and empowered to rule the earth.

The prophet Isaiah in Sunday's first reading 
predicts that the light of the Lord 
will cause our hearts to overflow 
and the riches of the sea to be emptied out 
before us.  (Isaiah 60: 5)
Our psalmist also speaks of “abundance 
that will flourish in his days.” 

But the Messiah is among us 
to do more than bless us materially;
our Savior has come to make our burdens light, 
to share our afflictions.

We see the light, just as the prophet Isaiah 
said we would.
And in the Psalm's verses, the mystery 
is revealed to us, poor in spirit though 
we are:  “He rescues the poor when they 
cry out [as we do], the oppressed 
who have no one to help.”
This is what our Good Shepherd Jesus 
is sent to do, to shepherd God’s people. 
This is why we join the Magi in doing 
homage to our newborn King and join 
with our psalmist in singing,
"Blessed be the Lord; Blessed be His 
glorious name."


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist mentions 'afflicted ones' and 'the afflicted' in two of the Psalm's 

verses.  Are there times when you can identify yourself as an 'afflicted' one?   
Tell what remedies are available to you that are mentioned in the Psalm.

2.  The Psalm says, 'Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.'   Using the 

verses of the Psalm, explain why 'all kings' would want to pay homage to our Lord.