Monday, September 24, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, September 30, 2018


Psalm 19: 8, 10, 12-13, 14   (Read)

“The precepts of the Lord give joy 
to the heart.”

This Sunday's Psalm celebrates the Law of
the Lord, first given to Moses on Mt Sinai. 
But it also tells us what God’s Law reveals
about our Creator, and about the joy that is
stirred up in our hearts when we follow the
Lord’s commands.

If I am to imitate the divine life, everything
I need to know is found in God’s Law.  Our
psalmist David shows me that the Law of
Moses is an instruction manual for life.  
I learn that obeying the Law does not prevent
me from being happy or limit me in a negative way.  
Instead, obeying the Law brings much reward.
I am kept from willful sins by the Law.  Obey the Law
and I will not be controlled by sin and instead will be
able to walk as a God fearing person.  I may think
of statutes as something intended to control me or
restrict me.   But as our psalmist explains, the Law
of the Lord does the opposite – it is in fact a source
of joy, something to be desired.  This is so because
the Law gives me wisdom and provides me with
something I can trust.

“His ordinances are true, all of them just.”
Far more than a set of rules that I cannot hope to follow,
God’s commandments refresh my soul.  They give
‘wisdom to the simple,’ they are more 'desirable than
gold, sweeter also than honey.'

It is through the inspired Word of God that I know His
commandments and through this Psalm that I know
His Law is a source of refreshment, a source of joy.  
His statutes do not bind me, they set me free.

The reading of the Law should not make me sad, but
be a source of rejoicing.   Give me ears to hear!


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our Psalm Response this Sunday is, "The precepts of the Lord
give joy to the heart."   Do you believe that the Lord's commandments
can be a source of joy, instead of a set of rules and restrictions?   Explain.

2.  Our psalmist says that the 'decree of the Lord gives wisdom to the simple.' 
Describe how God's Law inspires you to celebrate God's perfection and helps
you to imitate the divine life.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, September 23, 2018


Psalm 54: 3-4, 5, 6, 8   (Read)
"O God, by your name save me." 


The psalm is a prayer sung by David at a time when 
he was being hunted by King Saul.  David was in 
great peril, threatened by the “ruthless.” He says, 
“The ruthless seek my life; they set not God before 
their eyes.”

I may not be threatened by King Saul and his troops,
but I am surely under threat by satan and his band 

of fallen angels.  And where does the threat come from?
Is it from outside?   Or is it from within?  

For all my proclamations of trust in God, I can sense
the wavering inside of me which besets us all.

Just as David turns to the Lord for protection, so too 

should I pray to the Lord to save me.  David prays, 
”O God, by your name save me.”  For me that name 
is the name of Jesus.  Where else would I turn for a 
shield in time of battle?   Or a sword in time of peril?
With Christ present as my helper, I can turn back the 

evil which lurks within my heart.

David writes about the 'haughty men' who have risen 

against him.   Am I one of them?  Am I one of those
described in this Sunday's first reading who resent
the just one? (Wisdom 2:12)   Am I part of the crowd
who condemn Jesus to a shameful death to test if He 

is truly the son of God?

Are jealousy and selfish ambition lurking within me,
causing disorder and every foul practice, as St James 

warns us in Sunday's second reading? (James 3:16)   
Am I like the disciples on that journey with Jesus through 
Galilee who were arguing about who is the greatest?

If so, then I too had better call upon the name above all 

names to save me, as David does.  I had better pray that 
I will approach God in proper humility and pray that I shall
'undertake to become the last of all and the servant 
of all.' (Gospel, Mark 9:35)

“God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.”
I had better receive Him;
I had better gain His peace to quiet the battle within.
I had better keep my eyes fixed on the Cross;
I had better be open to rescue and redemption.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist is fighting against forces that threaten him; he says, 

"The ruthless seek my life."   Are you aware of powerful forces, external 
or internal, that put your faith in jeopardy?   Explain.

2.  The Psalm says, "The Lord upholds my life."  Speak of how your life 

is sustained by the Lord when you are under threat physically or spiritually.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, September 16, 2018


Psalm 116:  1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9   (Read}

“He has freed my soul from death."

It is said that Jesus called out this prayer 

on the night He was betrayed, and went 
to His death with these words on His lips.

The psalm is a simple prayer of thanks to 

God that the psalmist might have used after 
escape from the “snares of the netherworld,” 
as he called upon God, “O Lord save my life!”

But unlike the psalmist, our Savior does not 

ask to escape death; instead He begins to
teach the disciples that the Son of Man must 
suffer greatly and be killed.  Jesus summons 
the crowd and begins to preach on the redemptive
value of His death, saying that 'whoever loses his 

life for my sake will save it.' (Gospel, Mark 8: 31-35)

Having become the prayer of Our Lord on the night 

of his Passion, the Psalm says to us believers that 
there is hope, that we too will “walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”

In Sunday's first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds 

us that the suffering servant is not disgraced, is not 
put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7)   It is that same spirit of 
defiance in the face of death that empowers the 
suffering servant to set his face like flint, knowing
that the Lord God is his help.

Because we are little and “brought low,” we depend 

on our God to “incline His ear” to us when we call.  
We cannot raise up ourselves; we are at the mercy 
of God's grace.  We cannot become divine, and 
therefore God in His love for us became like us
and inclined Himself to our humanity

For this we are grateful, and we join with the 

psalmist who celebrates as we do, “For the Lord 
has freed my soul from death.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says that the "Lord has freed my soul from death."  Speak about 
how the Lord has worked in your life to give you hope that you are saved and raised you up away from the "cords of death."

2.  The Psalm says, "The Lord keeps the little ones."  Are you one of His 'little ones?'  
Explain how by humbling yourself you have a better chance of being pleasing in the 
eyes of God.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Psalm for Sunday, September 9, 2018


Psalm 146:  7, 8-9, 9-10   (Read)

“The Lord raises up those who were bowed down.”

Our psalmist is singing about God's 
promises to the oppressed, the hungry, 
the prisoner, the blind, and those of us 
who are bowed down in one way or another.

We could all benefit by being set free in the 

Spirit or healed so that we are no longer 
blinded.   Then we too would no longer be 
lame, but would be able to “leap like a stag,” 
as the prophet Isaiah foresees in this 
Sunday's 1st reading.  (Isaiah 35:5-6)

The Psalm is telling me that I really need 

to humble myself if I want to be raised up 
with Jesus.  That may be hard to do if it 
means I have to swallow my pride and put 
aside worldly concerns.   But it I truly want 
to be set free from the sins that bind me, 
then I need to repent and bow down before 
the Lord, accept my brokenness, and seek 
his grace.  Only then will I begin 
to have a right relationship with the Lord.

And where do I turn to be lifted up and made whole again?  

I turn to the Lord.  Where else are the promises of our God 
fulfilled but in the healing ministry of Jesus, as this Sunday's 
Gospel tells me.  (Mark 7:31-37)   Who else has the grace 
and the mercy to heal me?

Christ carries out the promises of the Psalm – He sets us 

captives free and gives sight to us so we can truly see.
The Lord raises me up when I am down – He sustains me – 

with real food and drink.

So I can pray this Psalm, not only in honor of the heavenly Father,
but also in honor of Christ Jesus, whom God exalted.  

“The Lord shall reign forever, through all generations.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "The Lord sets captives free."   In what ways are you captive, 

and how has the Lord set you free?

2.  The Psalm proclaims, "The Lord gives sight to the blind."  In what areas of your 

life were you not able to see things clearly, and give an example of how the Lord 
has enabled you to regain your sight.