Responding to the Psalms

January 2021

A project of the Spirituality Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales The Responsorial Psalm is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word. You could reflect on a verse for one or two days, and then move onto the next verse. The question/comments that follow each verse of the psalm are for personal reflection Some might be good for sharing with another, or a small group. Some might be too personal.
Where the text says WE it can also be rephrased as I. 

1 January – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God  – Responsorial Psalm 66(67):2-3,5,6,8

O God, be gracious and bless us.

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.
The Lord graced and blessed Mary who willingly embraced his way.
May that be our prayer for ourselves as we begin a new year.

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.
The Lord rules the world with justice and fairness.
As the world begins a new year we pray for our leaders to be guided by God

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.
In these challenging times of Pandemic the world needs a deep unity.
Let us pray that indeed all people will work together for what is good

Second Sunday of Christmas –  Responsorial Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

The Word was made flesh, and lived among us.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Zion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates
he has blessed the children within you.
While the world has long forgotten Christmas by now we need this time for deeper reflection.
Let us praise and thank God for sending us Jesus, the Word made flesh.

He established peace on your borders,
he feeds you with finest wheat.
He sends out his word to the earth
and swiftly runs his command.
The Christmas saviour comes with peace, feeding us with Word and Eucharist
Let us simply reflect on the amazing generosity of God in sending Christ.

6 January – Solemnity of The Epiphany of the Lord – Responsorial Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,10-13

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgement.
These “kings”, “wise men’, recognise a greater king in the babe of Bethlehem.
Look at the crib today and see in that human figure the divine son of God.

In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth’s bounds.
The three wise people reflect the three known continents of the world at the time.
Let us pray for God’s peace and justice for the entire known world of today

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts
shall pay him tribute.
The kings of Sheba and Seba
shall bring him gifts.
Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,
all nations shall serve him.
A year ago we would not have imagined the effect of this pandemic on our world.
Pray that all who have power and influence will realise their need for God and others

For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor
The kings go to do a baby homage, reminding us of Christ’s mission to the margins.
Let us pray that we will serve the poor, the needy, and the weak where we are.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – B  –  Responsorial Canticle – Isaiah 12

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Truly, God is my salvation, I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song, he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Today asks us to reflect on our own baptism.
Give thanks that you are baptised [not were baptised]!

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
Declare the greatness of his name.
Recognise that our baptism gives us a mission to the world.
Pray for the ability to help people know God and all that he has done.

Sing a psalm to the Lord for he has done glorious deeds;
make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
This feast draws us to reflect on our place within the Church.
Let us sing and shout for joy then because the Holy One is in our midst.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B  – Responsorial Psalm 39(40):2,4,7-10

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

I waited, I waited for the Lord
and he stooped down to me; he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.
How do we indeed sing God’s song, praising him for responding to us?

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.
How do we make sure our ears and hearts are open so that we can do his will?

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart.
How do we make sure we find our his will for us, delighting in his law?

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.
How do we make sure that we never miss an opportunity to let people know how good God is?

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Sunday of the Word of God) B – Responsorial Psalm 24(25):4-6,7b-9

Lord, make me know your ways.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.
The Word of God is there to inspire and guide to teach the truth
Pray for an openness for the Word of God to show us what he wants us to do.

Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.
The Word of God shows us a God of mercy, a God of love.
Pray that we can show that love and mercy to all we meet.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.
The Word of God shows the way to walk, the path of righteousness.
May we have the wisdom and words to help others see God’s way for them.

Excerpts from The Psalms: A New Translation © 1963 The Grail (England) published by HarperCollins.
Prokopiy Chirin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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