Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 117 — A Fervent Missionary Psalm – Psalm 117 is a brief and fervent prayer for the conversion of the nations to faith in Christ. The call, “Oh, praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, Laud Him, all you peoples!” is really a call to faith. The highest praise of the Lord is to confess Him to be our Savior and to flee to Him in repentant faith. The baptized faithful, together with the whole Church on earth, yearn for others to join them in praise of the Lord, “For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever.” How lovely it is to contemplate that the conversion of sinners results in the praise of God for His merciful kindness in Christ for all people.CP210509
Congregation at Prayer
May 2, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 116 —The Lord Loves Me and Hears My Prayers — “I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications…Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116 begins with the confident and comforting assertion that the Lord hears our prayers. When we are troubled by our sins, He hears. When we are surrounded by trouble and adversity, He hears. When the pains of death threaten us, He hears. This psalm echoes the words of the Apostle John, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19), and His ears are open to every cry, complaint, and need of the Christian. This is why we love Him. Our Lord has died for us, shed His blood for us, forgives us, protects us, upholds us, defends us, and never fails us. So, the psalmist confesses, “Gracious is the Lord…I was brought low, and He saved me…You have delivered my soul from death…I will call upon the name of the Lord.” The faithfulness of the Lord is what draws us to the Divine Service to receive the blessing of His Word and Supper. “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116 also speaks of the inevitable death of the Christian but does so in the confidence that when the Christian leaves this world he is with the Lord and will forever praise Him for His love and faithfulness. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Confirmation vows of lifelong faithfulness to the Lord rest upon His eternal faithfulness to us.
April 25, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 115—A Meditation on the Folly of Idolatry and the Lord’s Faithfulness—Psalm 115 begins by ascribing all glory, honor, and truth to the Lord God who alone is God. The reason for the exclusive claim to glory that belongs to the Lord is His mercy and truth. He alone is God. He has no master. He does what He pleases. But He always acts in ways that are true to His nature and faithful to His Word. All other deities are false gods made in the image and likeness of mankind’s cravings and appetites. None of these so-called gods can truly satisfy, nor do they have any real power. Psalm 115 enjoins us to trust in the Lord, to believe that He is our help and our shield from every misfortune and from the ravages of sin and death. He acts according to His promises of salvation and He will never abandon His people. Though He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, yet in love He cares for us and provides for our lives and our salvation. For these reasons, the faithful believer need not fear. The Lord will bless those who fear Him, both small and great.
April 18, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 114—A Meditation on the Exodus out of Egypt—The Exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt and the Lord’s faithfulness to them in providing for them in the wilderness is a paradigm for how He has given salvation to His Church and continues to provide for us today. Unbelievers have a “strange language” that conflicts with the language of faith and trust in the Lord. We need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word through which He makes His sanctuary and dwelling place among us. As His Word caused the Red Sea to part, turned back the waters of the Jordan River, and faithfully led them throughout their pilgrimage, so the Lord is present and leading us wherever the Gospel is faithfully taught, and the Sacraments of Christ are faithfully administered. Psalm 114 extols the presence of the Lord with His people. Though the unbelieving nations don’t recognize His presence among us, His presence nevertheless terrifies them and causes them to tremble. Jesus is the rock of our salvation! He is present with His Church for our protection and deliverance. He gives us to drink of the water of life, so that we never thirst again. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
April 11, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 113—A Prayer of Continual Praise of the Lord—The Lord alone is God, and He is the eternal Savior of all who trust in Him. For this reason, the Church, together with all her ministers and members, gives endless praise to Him “from this time forth and forevermore!” Singing songs of praise to the Lord is healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The Lord’s song of praise lifts our spirits to eternal truths, restores our relationship of confidence in the Lord, and gives us the optimism of Christ’s free gift of salvation. The assertions of Psalm 113 are comforting and uplifting to the soul of every Christian: “The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the ash heap… He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”
April 4, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 112—A Prayer Confessing the Blessed State of the Righteous—Being a disciple of Jesus does not necessarily mean that the Christian will not experience economic hardship or physical sickness. A Christian may suffer all forms of distress. But Psalm 112 promises us that the faithful Christian is blessed by God no matter what he or she might be called upon to endure, and that through such suffering God promises to bless and prosper the Christian. These great truths are contained in the key verse of the psalm: “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness.” The Christian stands righteous before God through faith in Christ. This faith is the victory that overcomes the world and by which we are afraid of no evil, “His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” “Blessed is the man who f ears the Lord.”CP210404
March 28, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 111—A Prayer of Praise of the Lord and Meditation upon His Works—Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise to the Lord for His saving works, His compassion and mercy, and for His enduring righteousness and justice in Christ which is the source of our salvation from sin. The psalmist extolls meditation upon the Lord’s works and Word: “the works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.” Preaching according to the covenant or promise of salvation in Christ is held forth for His people to rejoice in: “He has declared to His people the power of His works…He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.” The catechism explanation to the First Commandment also reflects the teaching on faith in the last verse of the psalm: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”
March 21, 2021
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 110—Psalm Announcing the Reign of Christ—Psalm 110 begins with David recounting a “conversation” between the God the Father and God the Son. Both are referred to by David as “Lord”— “the Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” The passage refers to what will be the consummation of Jesus’ work of trampling the enemies of Satan, sin, and death underfoot. He will sit at the Father’s right hand. On account of the faithful sacrifice of the Son of God (“David’s Lord”), the Lord (God the Father) would place all these enemies under Jesus’ feet. The verse recalls the first promise of the Gospel concerning the “Seed of the Woman” (the Virgin-born Son of Mary) who would “crush the Serpent’s head” with His “heel”. By the redeeming work of His cross, Satan is conquered and the Father places all His enemies under Jesus’ feet. The rest of the psalm depicts the wonderful establishment of Christ’s kingdom as a kingdom of salvation, beauty, and new life for Christians of every tribe and nation. God the Father declared Jesus to be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek appeared to Abraham in the Old Testament as a man who seemed to have no earthly lineage and yet Abraham paid tithes to him, indicating the superiority of his priesthood. Melchizedek is a type of Christ. His name means, “King of righteousness” and his office is fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the true King of Righteousness whose kingdom and priesthood would never end.
March 14, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 109:21-31—If the world hates us, the Lord will take care of us—Psalm 109 concludes with the psalmist placing his confidence in the Lord and His mercy when all the world and false accusers are set against him. The psalmist confesses that he is totally needy and as fleeting as a shadow. There is no soundness in him of his own making. He is dependent upon the Lord His God for help. When the world attacks him, the Lord upholds him. When the world curses him, the Lord blesses Him. No one else may believe that he is the Lord’s man, but the Lord’s mercy saves him and will vindicate him before his enemies. “I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude. For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn him.”
March 7, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 109:1-21—A Prayer for God to Judge False Witnesses—False witness includes any form of gossip, slander, or malicious statement that destroys another person and refuses to show mercy. The psalmist is attacked by false witnesses. Instead of lashing out against them, he commends them to God to judge them for what they have done and continue to do. It may seem off putting that the psalm would actually pray for God’s judgment upon his accusers. Would not the psalmist and God Himself desire their repentance? Yes! But such repentance often comes through the offender experiencing the same judgement his false witness gives to others. As we pray Psalm 109 we think of our Lord who was falsely accused, but appealed His cause to God. We remember Judas who vacated his apostolic office by his betrayal and impenitence. Finally, we remember His mercy which never fails to preserve and rescue our faith and life, even from the lying lips of those who speak against us.