Responding To The Psalms

December 2023


– a project of the Spirituality Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Indeed, who could fail to be moved by those many passages in the psalms which set forth so profoundly the infinite majesty of God, his omnipotence, his justice and goodness and clemency, too deep for words, and all the other infinite qualities of his that deserve our praise? Who could fail to be roused to the same emotions by the prayers of thanksgiving to God for blessings received, by the petitions, so humble and confident, for blessings still awaited, by the cries of a soul in sorrow for sin committed? Who would not be fired with love as he looks on the likeness of Christ, the redeemer, here so lovingly foretold? His was the voice Augustine heard in every psalm, the voice of praise, of suffering, of joyful expectation, of present distress.                                              Pope St Pius X

We offer the Sunday Responsorial Psalm as a focus for prayer and reflection during the week ahead for yourself or share with others. You could note your own thoughts as a possible personal journal.


Excerpts from The Psalms: A New Translation © 1963 The Grail (England) published by HarperCollins.

Responsorial Psalm                                                       Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19


God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

 shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

 O Lord, come to our help.

Call upon God, with an Advent prayer, that he will hear us because we trust hi as our shepherd

Name before our God where you need his strength and his help in this Advent time

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

 look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

 the vine your right hand has planted.

Ask God to renew your confidence that he is concerned for you and your needs at this moment

Trusting that God has given you life and set you here, ask that he will help you grow in faith

May your hand be on the man/one you have chosen,

 the man/one you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

 give us life that we may call upon your name.

Pray for and name those individuals you know who need God’s care and strength at this time

Renew your commitment to keep Advent well to be ready for the Christmas celebrations

10 December 2023         Second Sunday of Advent 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                 Psalm 84(85):9-14


Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

 I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

 a voice that speaks of peace,

 peace for his people.

His help is near for those who fear him

 and his glory will dwell in our land.

Find a quiet space and be still. Listen to the voice of the God of peace for you

Pray for the specific help that you and those close to you need this Advent

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

 justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

 and justice look down from heaven.

Pray to be merciful and faithful in all your relationships as you lead up to Christmas

Ask the Lord to give peace and justice to the troubled peoples and places of the world.

The Lord will make us prosper

 and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

 and peace shall follow his steps.

Thank God for all the good things that have allowed you to prosper in your life

Pray for all people to care for the world God has made so that indeed it may yield its fruit

 Sunday 17 December 2023       Third Sunday of Advent 

Responsorial Canticle                                                                       Luke 1:46-50,53-54


My soul rejoices in my God.

My soul glorifies the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her nothingness;

henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

Reflect on why Mary prays like this: how God gave her such joy waiting for the birth of Christ, her son

Take time with the words of the Hail Mary: why indeed do we call her blessed?

The Almighty works marvels for me.

Holy his name!

His mercy is from age to age,

on those who fear him.

Thank God for all the marvels he has done for you in your life so far

Do we truly “fear” God, that is hold him in respect for he is always so merciful, so forgiving?

He fills the starving with good things,

sends the rich away empty.

He protects Israel, his servant,

remembering his mercy.

Pray for those without food and water, without a home or work, here and throughout the world

Pray for the people of the Holy Land that all may know God’s protection and mercy as we celebrate Christmas

Sunday 24 December 2023       Fourth Sunday of Advent

Responsorial Psalm                                                                 Psalm 88(89):2-5,27,29

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

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.

Stop in the middle of your Christmas preparations and think how the feast celebrates God’s love for us

Reflect back with thanksgiving on all who have made past Christmases moments of joy and love

‘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.

Think of the birth of Christ as God’s fulfilment of his promise to send a Saviour for the world

Thank God for his faithfulness to the human race from the beginning of creation

‘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.’

As we celebrate the birth of God’s own son, rejoice that we are his daughters and sons too

Renew your love for him and your covenant with him as a faithful child

Monday 25 December 2023              CHRISTMAS – Mass at Midnight


Responsorial Psalm                                                         Psalm 95(96):1-3,11-13

Today a saviour has been born to us: he is Christ the Lord.

O sing a new song to the Lord,

 sing to the Lord all the earth.

 O sing to the Lord, bless his name.

Advent has prepared us for this moment – let us sing with joy because Christ is with us always in a new way

Let us pray for the whole world to know our joy, that we will find a way to share Christ with them

Proclaim his help day by day,

 tell among the nations his glory

 and his wonders among all the peoples.

Let us be grateful to God for all he does sustaining life for us and all people

Reflect on all the goodness that God achieves even in a troubled world

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,

 let the sea and all within it thunder praise,

let the land and all it bears rejoice,

 all the trees of the wood shout for joy

at the presence of the Lord for he comes,

 he comes to rule the earth.

Pray that Christ’s birth will remind people of our responsibility to care for our world and ensure its future

Pray for all who struggle that they may find reasons to be joyful these days

With justice he will rule the world,

 he will judge the peoples with his truth.

Pray for justice for all – especially those in prison, their families, the staff, all victims of crime

Pray for all imprisoned unjustly, all who strive for the truth, all persecuted for what is right

Monday 25 December 2023              CHRISTMAS Mass at Dawn


Responsorial Psalm                                                         Psalm 96(97):1,6,11-12

This day new light will shine upon the earth: the Lord is born for us.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,

 let all the coastlands be glad.

The skies proclaim his justice;

 all peoples see his glory.

Pray that the celebration of Christ’s birth will bring joy and gladness to people throughout the world.

Pray for justice in our lives, our communities, our nation, our world

Light shines forth for the just

 and joy for the upright of heart.

Rejoice, you just, in the Lord;

 give glory to his holy name.

Pray that our Christmas faith will be a witness to the world about God’s justice

Pray that our Christmas joy will give God glory


Monday 25 December 2023              CHRISTMAS Mass during the DAY

Responsorial Psalm                                                                          Psalm 97(98):1-6

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation.

Reflect personally on the way Christmas reveals God’s wonders to you

Purposefully share some of the Christmas joy of Christ’s birth with others

The Lord has made known his salvation; has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love for the house of Israel.

Pray for the world to know the peace and justice promised by the Christ child

Pray for people who suffer this Christmas because of lack of truth and love in their lives

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, ring out your joy.

Think of particular places and peoples in the news who need God’s salvation at this time

Pray with joy for the gift of today

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp with the sound of music.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn acclaim the King, the Lord.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Play some Christmas music and just enjoy its message of joy and hope

Find a way to share that message with at least one other person


Sunday 31 December 2023       The Holy Family

Responsorial Psalm                                                                 Psalm 104(105):1-6,8-9

He, the Lord, is our God. He remembers his covenant for ever.

Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name,

 make known his deeds among the peoples.

O sing to him, sing his praise;

 tell all his wonderful works!

 As we thank God for the old year, let us pray that we will find ways to proclaim God in the new year

Let us praise God as the God of all time, of history, for all his wonderful works.

Be proud of his holy name,

 let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Consider the Lord and his strength;

 constantly seek his face.

Rejoice that you can be called Christian, a child of God in Jesus Christ

Commit yourself to give more time to seek God in prayer and study

Remember the wonders he has done,

 his miracles, the judgements he spoke.

O children of Abraham, his servant,

 O sons [and daughters] of the Jacob he chose.

Simply list with gratitude the wonderful things of creation and history that are the works of God

Be glad that we are part of that people who have such roots in Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Rachel

He remembers his covenant for ever,

 his promise for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

 the oath he swore to Isaac.

Think how God has not only been faithful to his people but also allowed us to know him personally

Pray that we will daily, hour by hour, minute by minute, find ways to remember God’s goodness to us