Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, March 4, 2018


“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.” 

This Sunday's Psalm celebrates the law of the Lord, 
first given to the Israelites that day on Mt. Sinai in the 
desert when Moses received God's commandments.
(Exodus 20:1-17)
As the Psalm says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, 
refreshing the soul.”

But more than a set of rules that we cannot hope 
to follow, God’s commandments give us wisdom; 
they ‘rejoice our hearts; they are more desirable 
than gold, sweeter also than honey.’

The Word is the same way; even though we may be 
convicted by the Word, our Savior Lord Jesus came 
to fulfill the law and make us right with the Lord.
And just as the disciples came to believe in the 
scriptures when Jesus was raised, we too know 
Him as the ‘Word made flesh,’ the one who 
perfected the ‘wisdom of God.’

Our Psalmist David shows us that obeying the law 
does not prevent us from being happy.  Instead, 
obeying the Law “brings much reward.”
We may think of statutes as something intended 
to control us or restrict us, but as our psalmist 
explains, the law of the Lord is in fact a source of joy, 
something to be desired, because the law gives us 
wisdom and provides us with something
we can trust.

Today’s Psalm tells us about the joy that is stirred u
in our hearts when we follow the Lord’s commands.
“The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”
The Word and the statutes endure forever.
They are refreshing to the soul; they enlighten the eye. 
It is through the Word that we know His commandments
and through this Psalm that we know His law is a source 
of refreshment, a source of joy.
His statutes do not bind us, they set us free.  


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that the ordinances of the Lord are 'sweeter than honey.'   

How can it be that, instead of being harsh, the commandments of the Lord 
are sweet to the taste?  Explain.

2.  Our psalmist says that the commandments of the Lord are a source of joy --

they 'rejoice the heart.'   Tell about how obeying the commandments can be a 
source of joy in your life.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 25, 2018


"Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death 
of His faithful ones."

The verses of this Sunday's Psalm are words 
Abraham might have prayed when he was 
called on to sacrifice his son Isaac.
“I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving; 
I will pay my vows to the Lord.”  
Who else could have kept the faith at a time 
like that?   Yet Abraham’s devotion to the Lord 
did not waver.  (Genesis 22:10-12)
We may not be called upon to offer up 
so heavy a sacrifice, but we are commanded 
to listen to God’s son, and to imitate Him.

Abraham may have used words like those 

of our psalmist, “I believed even when I said, 
‘I am greatly afflicted.'”  
God relented and provided a substitute 
for Isaac,  “Too costly in the eyes of the Lord 
is the death of His faithful ones.”

But God did not spare His own son, 

as St Paul reminds us in Sunday's 2nd reading. 
(Romans 8:32)
And for whom did God sacrifice His son Jesus?  
It was for us that God handed over His 
beloved Son.  Jesus’ death on the cross has 
given us life; as people of faith we are chosen 
by God for life.  We pray that we are not put 
to the test as Abraham was, but we might 
at least, as the Psalm says, 
“Pay our vows to the Lord in the presence 
of all His people.”

The psalmist says, “O Lord, I am your servant; 

you have loosed my bonds.”   We too are made free 
by becoming the Lord's servant.  That is how it is when 
we follow His commandments and do His will.  
It is not something that binds us.  Rather, it is something 
that sets us free.
We take delight in serving the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks of the power of his faith, even in the darkest of times,
"I believed, even when I said, 'I am greatly afflicted.'"   Give an example of
 how your faith has strengthened you in difficult times.

2.  The Psalm says, 'O Lord, I am your servant; you have loosed my bonds.'
Explain how it is that, having been freed from your chains, you wish to serve
the Lord and become yoked to Him.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 18, 2018


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

This Sunday's Psalm is 
a prayer for forgiveness 
and guidance, a good 
way to begin the season 
of Lent.  Our psalmist 
David recalls the covenant 
the Lord made with Noah 
(Genesis 9: 8-15)and David 
writes, “Remember your 
compassion and love, 
O Lord, for they are ages old.”

Later in the psalm David affirms, 
“Good and upright is the Lord, 
thus He shows sinners the way.”  
Who else could lead us out of the pit 
of our sins but God’s Son, the righteous 
one who suffered for us, the unrighteous 
ones, as St Peter reminds us in this 
Sunday's second reading. 
(1 Peter 3:18-22)  
Peter says Baptism doesn’t remove 
the dirt from our bodies; it doesn’t 
remove our sinful nature.  But it does 
allow us to receive the Holy Spirit 
within us, because without the Spirit, 
we are powerless against the devil.

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 come 
to share in His divinity.  Who else 
would have such regard for sinners, 
for believers who disobey him?  
It is He who encourages us when our 
tongues confess – “The Lord guides the 
humble rightly, and teaches the humble 
His way.”

In this Sunday's Gospel, our Lord Jesus 
tells us what we are to do as we prepare 
for the most important season of the year,  
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”  (Mark 1:15)
And in response we join with our psalmist 
and say, “You are God my Savior.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection  

1.  Our Psalm speaks of being taught by the Lord ("Teach me your paths; guide me 

in your truth and teach me; He teaches the humble His way.")   Are you a good student of the Lord?  Tell about what you have learned or are learning from the Lord.

2.  Our psalmist says, "The Lord shows sinners the way."  As we enter the season 

of Lent, we could all use some guidance and help as we strive for repentance and 
to be bolder in our faith.  Explain what you will do during Lent to become a more 
obedient Christian and a better witness for your faith.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, February 11, 2018


Psalm 32:  1-2, 5, 11   (Read)

“I confess my faults to the Lord.”

This Sunday's Psalm is one of David’s 
penitential psalms.  David sings out about 
the heaviness of his sin that weighs upon him 
so long as he keeps silent.  The Psalmist’s sins 
were hidden in his heart.  Then, when he declares 
his sin, and confesses his faults, his burden 
is lifted and his guilt is taken away.

David’s sins may not have been so obvious 
as the sores on the lepers described in this 
Sunday's lst reading.  (Leviticus 13:1-2)
But like those same lepers, David is compelled 
to cry out, “Unclean, unclean,” and to seek 
God’s forgiveness in order to be healed.  
Just as David throws himself on the mercy 
of the Lord, so does the leper in today's Gospel, 
who kneels before Jesus and moves the 
Lord to pity.  (Mark 1:40-41)

The leper in the Gospel shouts for joy after he 
is made clean.  The same thing can happen to us 
when we receive the Sacrament of Confession 
and we are made clean inside.  We may not be joyful 
for the same reasons as the leper, but as Jesus says, 
it is what's inside our hearts that needs to be purified.
And having been cleansed from within, 
we really have something to be joyful about.

We are all pitiful in the sight of Christ, 
but once on our knees, having confessed and repented 
of our sins, there is hope for us whose sins are forgiven. 
As it says in the Psalm,  “Blessed is he whose fault 
is taken away, whose sin is covered.”

We all need a spiritual cleansing from time to time
if we are to obtain a pure heart.  They say confession 
is good for the soul, and from what the Psalm tells us,
confessing our faults will lead us to be glad 
in the Lord and rejoice.  


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  This Sunday's Psalm Response is, "I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, 

and you fill me with the joy of salvation."  Tell of a 'time of trouble' in your life 
when you turned to the Lord, confessed your faults, and were filled with 
the 'joy of salvation.'

2.  Our psalmist is grateful for God's gift of forgiveness; having confessed his sin 

before God, he is a new creation thanks to the grace of God.  Give an example 
of how your anxiety over your sin ceases when you bow down and confess 
your faults to the Lord.