Responding to the Psalms

January - April 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. 


EASTER SUNDAY                                                                        Responsorial Psalm 117(118):1-2,16-17,22-23

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say: ‘His love has no end.’
The Father has raised Jesus from the dead for us because he loves us so much. Do we really feel this deeply?
How can we give thanks from the heart for this amazing act of God’s love?

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed; his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live and recount his deeds.
How do we think about the Resurrection event itself, Christ being raised up?
How will we tell the story of the Resurrection by our words and actions?

The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.
The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are indeed the foundation of our faith.
Stop for a few minutes and marvel at what an amazing event the Resurrection is. 


SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER                                       Responsorial Psalm 117(118):2-4,15-18,22-24

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say: ‘His love has no end.’
Let the sons of Aaron say: ‘His love has no end.’
Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love has no end.’
As we begin our second week of rejoicing at the resurrection of Jesus how are we giving thanks?
Stop and ask yourself what does it mean for God to love me without end?

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed; his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live and recount his deeds.
I was punished, I was punished by the Lord, but not doomed to die.
Jesus’ Resurrection is our promise of eternal life. What does that mean to you?
Do we speak enough to other people about all God’s deeds?

The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad.
How do you express your faith that Jesus is the cornerstone of your life?
How are you showing your joy and gladness for this Easter season?


THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER                                                   Responsorial Psalm 4:2,4,7,9

Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.
When I call, answer me, O God of justice;
from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me!
Think with gratitude of the times when you know God has answered your prayer.
How do you show justice and mercy to people around you?

It is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.
What does it mean for you to say that God loves you?
How do you show God’s love to people in your life?

‘What can bring us happiness?’ many say.
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.
What makes you truly happy as a Christian?
Sit still and rejoice in the light of the resurrection and all it promises.

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Think and pray for the people you know who cannot find peace at the moment.
How do you help people feel secure and confident that Christ is truly risen?


ST GEORGE                                                                       Responsorial Psalm 125(126)

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.
Give thanks that we are free to practice our faith in these islands.
Rejoice [and sing if you want] in just having faith in the Risen Lord.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.
How often do you think about all the marvels God has achieved in your life?
Find words to express how glad you are for all that God has done for you

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.
Think with gratitude for all those people who were persecuted for the faith in these lands.
Pray for those who suffer oppression for the faith today across the world.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.
Thank God for the people who sowed the seed to faith in your own life.
Express gratitude that we belong to the Church as the community of faith in the Risen Lord


FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER                             Responsorial Psalm 117(118):1,8-9,21-23,26,28-29

The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men;
it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
God’s love for us is always certain. Do we realise that at all times?
Do we express that in our words and show it by the way we live our lives?

I will thank you for you have answered and you are my saviour.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.
The Resurrection is the answer to everything, even death. Express thanks for that gift.
Stop for a few moments and reflect on how you understand the Resurrection as a marvel for you.

Blessed in the name of the Lord is he who comes.
We bless you from the house of the Lord;
You are my God, I thank you.  My God, I praise you.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his love has no end.
God sent his only Son, who died and rose to save us. Bless God for his generosity.
Take a moment to think about what it means for you to have a personal relationship with God.


7 March – Third Sunday of Lent B 2021 – Psalm 18(19):8-11

You, Lord, have the message of eternal life.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.
Lord, I pray that I can see your law, and feel new life in my soul
Lord, let me trust more in your rule, and know true wisdom

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.
Lord, help me to see what you want me to do and find my real happiness
Lord, open my eyes to see more clearly the way you want me to live

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just.
Lord, help me to use this Lent to be more conscious of how great you are.
Lord, may I promote truth and justice in all I do

They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb.
Lord, help me to appreciate more the gift of knowing you
Lord, let me simply rejoice in the sweetness of your love for me.


14 March – Fourth Sunday of Lent B 2021 – Psalm 136(137):1-6

O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not!
By the rivers of Babylon
there we sat and wept,
remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there
we hung up our harps.
Lord,  I ask you to comfort all who live in exile, away from their home
Father, help me to appreciate more the good things of my life.

For it was there that they asked us,
our captors, for songs,
our oppressors, for joy.
‘Sing to us,’ they said,
‘one of Zion’s songs.’
We pray for all those who oppress people in any way and keep them captive
We think about the Jewish people with whom we share the tradition of Abraham and Sarah

O how could we sing
the song of the Lord
on alien soil?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!
We pray for all those who are refugees and asylum seekers and all who care for them
Let us thank God for the people and places that have nourished our faith in the past.

O let my tongue
cleave to my mouth
if I remember you not,
if I prize not Jerusalem
above all my joys!
Let me always be ready to praise you, Lord, and speak of you to others.
Help me during these Lenten day to find happiness in being a Christian.


19 March Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Solemnity – Psalm 88(89):2- 27,29

His dynasty shall last for ever.
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.
Think of St Joseph, how the Lord asked so much of him, to accept Mary and he child
Ask for the qualities that marked out Joseph, a good and honest man.

‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your dynasty for ever
and set up your throne through all ages.
Reflect on how Joseph, from the house of David, takes on his role as the foster father of the Messiah
Thank God that we belong to that same tradition of God’s faithful people

‘He will say to me: “You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me.”
I will keep my love for him always;
with him my covenant shall last.’
Ask yourself what does it mean for me to call God my Father
Pray the Our Father, conscious that it is the prayer of all the baptised.


21 March – Fifth Sunday of Lent B Psalm 50(51):3-4,12-15

A pure heart create for me, O God.
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
Take time to think about how merciful God has been to you throughout your life
Simply ask God for his mercy and forgiveness for your sins in these Lenten days

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
Ask God to purify your heart and the choices you make in life
Pray for the Holy Spirit in your own words or with any prayer you know

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.
Express your thanks to God for the times he has kept you from sin or bad choices
Pray for the courage and inspiration you need to help others choose good over evil


25 March The Annunciation of the Lord – Solemnity – Psalm 39(40):7-11

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.
Think of how Mary accepted God’s will without knowing all it would demand
Reflect on how Christ came to earth and gave himself freely for us on the Cross.

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.
Take time to ask yourself how you decide what God wants of you each day
Pray that like Mary we can always accept God’s will whatever it entails

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.
How well do we demonstrate and proclaim our faith to other Christians?
Ask for the courage and strength to be able to speak freely of Christ

I have not hidden your justice in my heart
but declared your faithful help.
I have not hidden your love and your truth
from the great assembly.
Think about all the good things God has done for you.
With Mary give God thanks for his goodness to you and all people


Psalm Sunday of the Passion – Psalm 21(22):8-9,17-20,23-24

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.
‘He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend.’
As we begin Holy Week reflect on Christ’s passion and what it means to you now
Pray for all those who today suffer the same sort of insults and rejection

Many dogs have surrounded me,
a band of the wicked beset me.
They tear holes in my hands and my feet
I can count every one of my bones.
As we move towards Good Friday take time to reflect on the physical suffering of Christ in his passion
Pray for all those who are subjected to violence and torture at this time

They divide my clothing among them.
They cast lots for my robe.
O Lord, do not leave me alone,
my strength, make haste to help me!
Think about how Jesus was subjected to degradation and insult
Pray for people who now suffer mental and physical abuse

I will tell of your name to my brethren
and praise you where they are assembled.
‘You who fear the Lord give him praise;
all sons of Jacob, give him glory.
Revere him, Israel’s sons.
Reflect on how we should see Christ’s cross in the light of his Resurrection
Pray to be able to lift up people you know who are struggling in any way.


The Presentation of the Lord – Feast – 2 February – Psalm 23(24):7-10

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors.
Let him enter, the king of glory!
Reflect on the baby Jesus being carried into the great Jerusalem Temple
Do we realise what it means that he is the Son of God, born for us?

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant,
the Lord, the valiant in war.
The child is the Son of the God whom we call all powerful.
Is God the most powerful influence in our lives?

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors.
Let him enter, the king of glory!
How do we welcome Christ into our hearts and our lives?

Who is he, the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies,
he is the king of glory.
God, the Lord of armies, is an image that prompts us to pray for peace.
Reflect on the futility of all violence, especially on our streets.


5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Psalm 146(147):1-6

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.

Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to our God for he is loving:
to him our praise is due.
Think about the ways God has good has been recently.
Thank him, and praise him.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel’s exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name.
Think about how God is creator of all, including the stars.
Ask him to help people you know who are sad, broken hearted.

Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust.
Reflect on what it means for God to be the source of all wisdom.
Pray for those who are oppressed, and for a change of heart for the wicked.


6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Psalm 31(32):1-2,5,11

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Happy the man whose offence is forgiven,
whose sin is remitted.
O happy the man to whom the Lord
imputes no guilt,
in whose spirit is no guile.
God loves us despite our sins and failings.
Let us pray for the ability to forgive anyone who has offended us

But now I have acknowledged my sins;
my guilt I did not hide.
I said: ‘I will confess
my offence to the Lord.’
And you, Lord, have forgiven
the guilt of my sin.
Let’s take time to think about our own failings.
Pray that God and others will forgive us for our offences

Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.
Do we rejoice enough in God’s gifts, especially his forgiveness?
Rejoice that God has put us right!


Ash Wednesday – Day of Devotion – Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
Lent asks us to reflect on how we are living our baptismal promises.
Thank God that in his kindness he forgives our failings as Christians.

My offences truly I know them;
my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done.
Ask the Lord to be able to see clearly how we can change our lives
Then pray for the strength to do something about it.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
Pray for the gift of steadfastness and perseverance this Lent.
Ask to find ways of being more conscious of God’s presence daily.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Think about ways in Lent to increase your fervour for God
Pray that will be more committed to your prayer


1st Sunday of Lent – Psalm 24(25):4-6,7b-9

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.

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.
Take a few moments to review your life at the moment.
Pray for the ability to see yourself with God’s eyes.

Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.
Think back over how God has shown you love and mercy.
Thank God for all the good things of your life

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.
Ask to see where you are going wrong in your Christian life
Pray for the humility to be able to change.


2nd Sunday of Lent – Psalm 115(116):10,15-19

I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.

I trusted, even when I said:
‘I am sorely afflicted,’
O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Lent is a time to remember the times we have struggled in our lives.
Pray for people who are finding it difficult to be faithful to God.

Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make;
I will call on the Lord’s name.
God has stood by us often when we may not have deserved him.
Thank God for how he has done that for us and others.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfil
before all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
We need to be proud of God’s love and our faith.
Ask for the confidence to live our Christian life with pride.


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.


Acknowledgements
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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