Monday, May 30, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, June 5, 2022


Reflections 


“When you send forth your spirit, 
they are created.” 

Animated by the Spirit, the divine 
breath, we who are His creatures 
sing of the glory of our Creator.  
Our psalmist affirms, “When you 
send forth your Spirit, you renew 
the face of the earth.”  

God our Creator is the source of 
all natural life. So also the Holy Spirit 
is the source of all supernatural life. 
We are nothing without the divine 
breath -- “If you take away their breath,
they perish and return to their dust.”

It is this same creative breath that came 
down on the disciples in that locked room 
St Luke speaks of in today's first reading.
(Acts 2:1-4)
The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples 
to go forth and proclaim the Gospel boldly 
to men of all nations, speaking different tongues.

We too are called to be baptized in the Spirit, 
and to receive the divine breath of the Lord. 
Having been baptized in the Spirit, we are a 
new creation, and are called to glorify the Lord
in what we do. In this way, as the Psalm says, 
“May the Lord be glad in his works.”

Fortunately for us too, the Spirit is manifested
in each of us for some benefit, as St Paul 
reminds us in today's second reading. 
(1 Corinthians 12:7)
All we have to do is accept Christ and 
believe in Him.

Without the breath of the Holy Spirit, we have 
no spiritual life. But thanks to God's gift, 
we are a new creation; we are baptized into  
Christ, and we share in the divinity of our Lord.
And that alone gives us reason to praise God.
As our psalmist says, “Pleasing to Him be my 
theme; I will be glad in the Lord.”

Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection 
   
1.  As in our Psalm, do you also feel the presence of the 'divine breath' 
in your spiritual life?  Speak of how the Holy Spirit is at work in your life.

2.  Our psalmist says that the Spirit of the Lord 'renews the face of the earth.'   
Tell of how you are a new creation, after having been baptized in the Holy Spirit.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, May 29, 2022


Reflections 




“God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy.” 

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, who was 
taken up to heaven to be seated 
at the right hand of the Father, 
far above every principality, 
with authority over every nation, 
as our second reading tells us.  
(Ephesians 1: 20-21)

With such an awesome God on His throne, 
what hope do we have as mere human beings 
that He will have anything more to do with us? 
How far removed can we be if this Jesus is taken
up to heaven and has all things put beneath His 
feet (including us)?

Fortunately, for us men, Jesus leaves us with a way 
to share in His divinity, through the Holy Spirit which 
He gives to us.  His power and presence remain within 
us, so long as we repent from our sins and believe 
in Him.

Power is often associated with arrogance and brutal 
treatment, but our God uses His power to work 
miracles, and bring about healing. He is risen, and
is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. 
Knowing this, we shout with joy, and we praise Him.

After Jesus' Ascension, the disciples began their 
active ministry, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
That same power is given to us so long as we believe; 
we too are called to ministry.  And for that we are 
inspired to praise the Lord, as the psalmist says, 
“Clap your hands, shout to God with joyful cries; 
sing praise to God!”

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm speaks of God mounting His throne and reigning over the nations.   
If God is raised up so far above us, how do you go about having a relationship 
with our Lord so that He is present to you?

2.  The Psalm's verses tell of God as the great king over all the earth, and we are 
urged to sing praise to our king.  Describe how our Lord's Ascension inspires you 
to celebrate with shouts of joy.



Monday, May 16, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, May 22, 2022


Reflections


Psalm 67:  2-3, 5-6, 8   (Read) 

“May God be gracious to us and bless us;
may God's face shine upon us.” 
 
So much that God does for us is contained
in this opening verse of the Psalm.  God gives
us His grace through His son Jesus, who is
our Savior.  And we all want God’s blessings as
the Psalm says.  Since the time of Moses,
God’s chosen people have reached out for
God’s blessings.
 
God gives us material blessings –
all our treasure and gifts are from Him.
And thankfully, He gives us spiritual blessings
as well –  to each individual the manifestation 
of the spirit is given for some benefit.  
 
No wonder that we Gentiles were attracted
to the faith, when St Paul and Barnabas
were traveling through the towns and visiting
the early churches.  And what could be better
than to have God's face shine upon us, as the
psalmist says.  We have a hint of what the
radiance of God's face may be like in this
Sunday's 2nd reading, where St John speaks of
the light of God's glory that shines in the
city of heaven.  (Revelation 21: 10-11)
 
By ministering to the Gentiles the 'way' of
the Lord became known upon earth among
all the nations, as the Psalm says.  Indeed the
Psalm  predicts that God’s saving power shall
be known among all the peoples.  Thankfully,
that includes us.
 
Today we join with our psalmist and the members
of the early church in praising God –
“May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.”
 
Amen

Discussion Questions for Reflection
  
 
1.  Our psalmist asks that God will let His face shine upon us.   
Tell of how you have felt the radiance of God when He is present to you.

2.  The Psalm prays that the Lord's 'way' be known among all nations.   
What have you done personally to encourage others to follow 
the 'way' of the Lord? 



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, May 15, 2022


Reflections
 

Psalm 145:  8-9, 10-11, 12-13   (Read)


“The Lord is good to all and
compassionate toward all his works.”
 
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, “The Lord is gracious and
merciful and of great kindness.”
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.  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 with an unending stream of divine love.
 
There are times when we may question
why God allows us to suffer, why He allows
“bad things to happen to good people.”
We may ask, as the early believers probably did,
“Why is it necessary to undergo such hardships
to enter the kingdom of God?” 
 
Afflictions go hand in hand in our walk
with the Lord.   We may not understand
what God is up to, but we can be sure that
our faith will be strengthened if we stand
fast in the face of suffering.  We will become
better witnesses for Christ as we are humbled.
We become better servants if we bear up
with our difficulties and trust in the Lord,
as our psalmist tells us.  
 
Endurance is a Godly quality and will help
us to get 'yoked' to Jesus.   Having done that,
we, like our psalmist David, join with the
faithful and speak of the glory of God's reign
and bless His name.
 
Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   The Psalm says, 'Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord.'    

Are you one of His works?   Tell of how you give thanks to the Lord 
and bless Him as one of His faithful ones.

2.   Our psalmist speaks of the everlasting nature of God's divine love.   

Describe how God's love has helped you to overcome hardship 
and get 'yoked' to Jesus. 



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, May 8, 2022


Reflections 



"We are God's people,
the sheep of his flock." 

The Psalm begins with a call for us
to 'sing joyfully to the Lord.'  That
same joyful spirit filled St Paul and 
his companions when they began 
their ministry to the Gentiles that 
day in Antioch.  (Acts 13:14, 43-52)
And their ministry has become our 
ministry – as our psalmist says, 
we are called to 'worship the Lord 
with cries of gladness; come before 
Him with joyful song.' 

But after all, we are like sheep, and 
we need someone to look after us 
so that we don't go astray.  What 
could be better than to have Jesus
as our Good Shepherd?   We are his 
lambs; we hear his voice; He knows 
us; and we follow Him. 

As our psalmist says, we belong to God.
And God has given us to his Son. No one 
can take us out of his hand, as Jesus tells 
us in today's Gospel. (John 10:27-30)
We are a well tended flock indeed. 

As our Lord's sheep, we hear his voice, 
we follow Him, and we praise Him because,
'Good indeed is the Lord, his love endures 
forever, his faithfulness lasts through every 
generation.'

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection


1.  There is something comforting about being shepherded by
our Lord Jesus.  Our psalmist says we are 'the flock He tends.'
Speak of how you feel to be one of His sheep.

2.  The Psalm tells us to 'serve the Lord with gladness.'   Give an
example of how you are serving Him with a joyful spirit.
 
  


Monday, April 25, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, May 1, 2022

Reflections




“I praise you, Lord, for you raised me up."


This is a Psalm that Jesus himself 
might have prayed, following his 
resurrection: “I praise you, Lord, 
for you raised me up and did not 
let my enemies rejoice over me.”

Our Lord Jesus was raised up 
from the pit by the Father, even 
though He bore the weight of our 
sins.  “Lord you brought me up 
from the netherworld; you let me 
live, from going down to the pit.”

God’s anger over the sins of all men,
that Christ took upon himself, lasted 
but a moment -- “Divine anger lasts 
but a moment; divine favor lasts 
a lifetime.”

The Psalm speaks to us as we take part 
in the joy of Easter. The joy of the resurrection 
comes to us at dawn, after a terrible night, 
as it came to those early followers of Jesus.
“At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the 
dawn, rejoicing.” And that alone is reason 
enough to change our mourning into dancing.

The Psalm concludes with praise that is 
worthy of the Lamb, and recalls for us the 
voices of the angels that St John speaks of in 
today's second reading from Revelation 5:11-12,
“O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.”

Amen


Discussion Questions for Reflection 
  
1.  Our psalmist says that God's anger lasts but a moment, while His favor 
lasts a lifetime.   Give an example of how you have been blessed by God's 
favor after having fallen away for a time.

2.  The Psalm speaks of changing our mourning into dancing.   Tell of how the 
resurrection of our Lord has lifted you up and brought within you a rejoicing of the spirit.



Monday, April 18, 2022

Psalm for Sunday, April 24, 2022


Reflections


Psalm 118:  2-4, 13-15, 22-24   (Read)

“I was hard pressed and falling, 
 but the Lord came to me as savior.” 
 
  













Once again we visit this powerful psalm 
of praise and thanksgiving. This time the
verses stress the enduring love that God 
has for us, so much so that despite the part 
we played in crucifying his Son, God went
ahead with His plan to save us.
Jesus’ risen presence among us is living 
proof of God’s enduring love. Our psalmist
assures us, “God’s mercy endures forever.”

We may be hard pressed and falling, or
we may be spiritually sick and weakened 
by sin. Are we really any different from those
Dr Luke speaks of in today's first reading, 
any less desperate or in need of the Lord's 
healing power and presence in our lives? 
(Acts 5:15-16)

Fortunately the Lord comes to us as Savior,
as our psalmist says. And the Lord is present
to us when we are frightened, as He was present 
to those frightened disciples in the upper room. 
(John 20:19-21)
Who would have been more hard pressed and 
falling than they were before Jesus appeared 
to them and blessed them and extended his 
peace to them? That same source of strength 
the psalmist speaks of is available to us – 
all we have to do is believe and open our hearts 
to receive his saving grace.

As the psalmist says, the Lord is our strength.
He is present to us, just as He was in those early 
days of the church described in today's first reading 
and in today's Gospel of St John.
We may not have the awesome experience 
Thomas had of physically putting our hand in 
the Lord’s side and our fingers into the nail 
marks on his hand, but He is with us.  

We are victorious over death. The Lord’s
deliverance is cause for joy. Just when we were 
down, the Lord raises us up. “I was hard pressed 
and falling, but the Lord has been my Savior.” 
“The joyful shout of victory is heard.”  The verses of 
the Psalm confirm that we are on firm ground after all.

When Thomas put his fingers into the Lord's side,
it was clearly a moment of epiphany for Thomas 
and for us as well. Thomas was struck with awe, 
and came to believe in the risen Lord. What does 
it take for us, though we have not seen, to get down 
on our knees and say, “My Lord and my God.”
(John 20: 24-28)

Christ has become our cornerstone, as our 
psalmist reminds us. Christ has become a 
source of strength for us, despite his apparent 
weakness that day on the cross, when he died 
a shameful death. 

Only the Lord could have done this remarkable 
thing.  As the Psalm says, “By the Lord has this 
been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.” This is 
cause for rejoicing -- “This is the day the Lord
has made.”  Along with the disciples and the 
early church, “Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”

Amen

  
Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Have you ever been 'hard pressed and falling,' as was our psalmist?   
Describe how the Lord has been your strength and courage in times of trouble.

2.  As the Psalm says, 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.'   Speak of how our Savior has become the rock you can rely on 
in your life.