Monday, October 25, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, October 31, 2021


Reflections

Psalm 18:  2-3, 3-4, 47, 51   (Read)


“The Lord Lives!”

The Psalm is saying that the Lord 
is present to us, here and now

just as He was when He delivered 
David from his persecutors.

The really key revelation for us is 
that the Lord lives.  He lives among 

us; He is present in the Word; Jesus 
is in fact the Living Word; He is 
present on the inside of us through 
the Holy Spirit.  He is alive in the 
Eucharist; He humbled himself to 
share in our humanity, so that we 
might have a share in His divinity!

So Jesus is alive and well, standing 
by us as our “rock of refuge, our
shield, our saving horn.”  We join
with David in praising God and loving
Him with all our heart and all our mind,
as Jesus reminds us to do in this Sunday's

Gospel.  (Mark 12: 28-34)

How do we apply the Psalm's verses to 
our lives?  We turn to our Lord to equip
us for the battles that we fight against the
evil one.  Jesus becomes our fortress!

In this Psalm we hear David, crying out 
to the Lord, as one cries out to his savior.
“My God, my rock of refuge, my shield,
my saving horn, my stronghold.” David
has just emerged after being saved
by God from his enemies and the clutches
of King Saul.  David has been rescued by
that same God of compassion and mercy
that spoke to Moses in Sunday's first reading.

(Deuteronomy 6: 2-6)

David says, “You have shown kindness to 
your anointed.”  God promises to hear us
when we cry out to Him as our psalmist
does. 

David praises his savior in language that 
is familiar to us as his spiritual descendents:
“The Lord lives!  Blessed be my rock!
Exalted be God my savior!”

For David has been delivered from the 
forces of evil that surrounded him.
And that same deliverance is available to
us, so long as we surrender ourselves
to God and love God with all of our heart
and soul and strength.

Amen

 
Discussion Questions for Reflection
 
1.  Our psalmist exclaims, 'The Lord lives!'  Speak of how
the Lord is present to you and why you believe He is your rock,
your fortress, here and now.

2.  The Psalm makes it clear that David loves the Lord and
that the Lord is the source of his strength.  Describe your love
for the Lord and how you have been led to serve Him and
praise Him.



Monday, October 18, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, October 24, 2021


Reflections


Psalm 126: 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6   (Read)

“Restore our fortunes, O Lord.”

This Sunday's Psalm celebrates the 
reversal of Israel’s fortune, and return
from exile, which could not have
occurred without God’s intervention.
The psalm's verses reflect praise for 
what the Lord has done.  “The Lord 
has done great things for them.”

The psalm is also a petition asking 
the Lord to look after the future of the
remaining Israelites.  And there is an
expectation that God will guide them 
in achieving prosperity.

“Restore again our fortunes, Lord, 
like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.”  
This calls to mind our first reading from 
Jeremiah, where God promises to lead 
the remnant of Israel to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall
stumble.   (Jeremiah 31:9)   We too are 
looking for that water which restores 
and renews, cleanses us and purifies us, 
that living water which satisfies our
spiritual thirst.

The Psalm also reminds us the truly great thing 
the Lord has done for us is to send his only
begotten Son to be by our side.  Jesus’ presence 
in our lives is a guarantee of a spiritual harvest 
that will lead to our own salvation.  Just as 
Bartimaeus, the blind man in the Gospel, is saved
by his own faith, the Lord promises us a transition 
from a sinful existence to a world of joy.  (Mark 10:52)

The Psalm says it well, “Those who go forth weeping, 
carrying the seed to be sown, shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.”  And therein lies a lesson for us – 
to let go of our own baggage, and pick up the Lord’s
burden, because we know his yoke is easy.

Whatever type of spiritual exile may imprison us, Jesus 
shows us a way out.  God is in the business of deliverance.

As the prophet Jeremiah confirms, we go among the blind 
and the lame to the promised land. (Jeremiah 31:8) 
We carry our sacks with us and within those seeds that 
we sow is contained the promise of new life, the reversal 
of whatever misfortune may trouble us.  When the
harvest comes in, we can join with the psalmist and sing, 
"Our mouths are filled with laughter, our tongues sing for joy.”

Amen 

 

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm alludes to a reversal of spiritual exile that may apply to people like us.  
Tell of how the Lord has brought you back from a time of being distant from Him.

2.  Our psalmist suggests that we carry the seeds of our own salvation even while 
we go forth weeping.  Speak of how your faith has saved you, when you looked 
to the Lord for healing.



Monday, October 11, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, October 17, 2021


Reflections 

Psalm 33:  4-5, 18-19, 20, 22    (Read)


"Lord, let your mercy be on us,
as we place our trust in you.”

Our Sunday Psalm is written in praise
of God’s power and providence.
It is the Lord’s design for his
people that stands through all
the generations.  It is through
his plan that we are saved.
Our own feeble efforts count for
nothing.  We must be submissive
and abandon ourselves to his providence.

And how do we know his plan?
This Sunday's lst reading (Isaiah)
graphically outlines what God has 
in mind for his Son, that He be 
'crushed for our offenses.' (Isaiah 53:10)
As unpleasant as this sounds,
that is how we are delivered from
death.  Because Christ humbles himself for
our sake, becomes a slave to our sin,
there is hope for us, even in our time
of spiritual famine   The psalmist has it right,
“The Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, 
to deliver them from death.”

In Sunday's 2nd reading, the Letter to the Hebrews 
answers the question, “How can we approach the throne
of God?”  The answer is with confidence, and then 
we will find mercy and grace. (Hebrews 4:16)
The theme of the Psalm is the same, “The Lord’s eyes 
are upon those who hope for his grace.”

It is said that even people who have no faith 
have a longing in their hearts for God.  There is something 
missing in their lives.  For us who are believers,
we are dependent on the Lord – we openly ask for 
his help and his protection.  He is our shield in the 
spiritual battle that we all have to fight.

If we trust in the Lord, his eyes will be upon us, 
and we can expect to receive his grace.  And as 
the psalmist says, through the Lord's grace we
are delivered from death, kept alive in times of famine.   
And for this we praise the Lord.  As the psalmist says,
we know He will fill the earth with goodness and his 
kindness will be upon us.  The Psalm ends on a positive
note, “Lord we have put our hope in you.”
Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The psalmist says, 'Our soul waits for the Lord.'  Tell of how you have 
a spiritual hunger for the Lord in your life, and explain how the Lord satisfies 
your longing.

2.  The psalm's verses state that, 'The eyes of the Lord are upon those who 
fear Him.'   Do you feel the eyes of the Lord upon you because you hold 
Him in awe?  Explain.



Monday, October 4, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, October 10, 2021


Reflections

Psalm 90: 12-13, 14-15, 16-17   (Read)


“Teach us to number our days aright, that we 
  may gain wisdom of heart."


The Psalm reminds us that man’s days are 
numbered, and that we should use our time 
wisely, making our days and our life count 
for something.  And how do we do that?  
We do it by being open to the wisdom of God.
Just as Solomon preferred the gift of wisdom 
over material wealth (Wisdom 7:7-9), so too
do we see the advantage of using our time 
wisely by doing the Lord's will.

Although we may never receive the wisdom 
of Solomon that this Sunday's first reading 
talks about, we can hope for some  ability to be 
detached from worldly things, which can separate 
us from God.

How do we do this?  Where does the ability come from, 
to cut through all our present day concerns?
It comes from the Word – “The Word of God is sharper
than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between 
soul and spirit, joints and marrow." (Hebrews 4:12)

Scripture teaches us that the Word will give us a 
correct view of life, and this will allow us to have
a right relationship with the Lord.  Having got that right, 
we may receive the favor of the Lord and be counted 
among his sheep.  As the Psalm says, “May the favor
of the Lord our God be ours.”

How much better will our lives be if we may sing for joy, 
as the psalmist says, and be filled at daybreak
with the love of the Lord.   And having received God’s 
favor, we will want to be His servants and do His work.  
We will become laborers in the field where the
harvest is plentiful.  And as the Psalm says, 
“The work of our hands will prosper.”

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks about using our time wisely.   Tell of how you set 
your priorities so that you are serving God and doing His will.

2.  Our psalmist talks of how we may gain 'wisdom of heart.'  Give an example 
of how you are receiving wisdom to discern a correct view of life so that you 
will not offend the Lord.



Monday, September 27, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, October 3, 2021


Reflections


Psalm 128:  1-2, 3, 4-5, 6   (Read)

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home.”

Our psalmist tells us that a man who has
a right relationship with the Lord will also
obtain a right relationship with his wife and
his family.

And walking in the ways of the Lord will be
reflected in the way a man treats his wife.  
A man’s wife is after all, “bone of my bones,
flesh of my flesh.”  (Genesis 2:23)

As Christ nourishes the Church, so a man
cherishes his wife, and nourishes his relationship
with her.  And the man’s reward is that his wife
will be like a ‘fruitful vine’ within his house. 
This is how a man is blessed who fears the Lord.

If we have a right relationship with the Lord,
we will know how to treat our wives and our
children, and in turn, we will discover how blessed
we are in our home and by the presence of our
family.  “Just so will they be blessed
who fear the Lord.”

Having been so favored by God, we understand
why, “A man shall leave his father and mother and
be joined to his wife.”  God made them one flesh,
and, “What God has joined, no human being may
separate.” (Gospel, Mark 10:7-9)

If we fear the Lord and walk in His ways, we will
receive the blessings of our labor, prosper in a
material way, and grow old gracefully in the company
of our wife and children.

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist speaks of the benefits of a right relationship with the Lord. 
Tell of how fearing the Lord has led you to have a better relationship with your
spouse and your family members.

2.  The Psalm asks, "May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives."  Recall
how you have been blessed by God, both physically and spiritually, and how you have been inspired to walk in His ways.



Monday, September 20, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, September 26, 2021


Reflections

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!

Amen


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.



Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Psalm for Sunday, September 19, 2021


Reflections

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.

Amen



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.