Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading Ezekiel 17:22-24 2nd Reading: Corinthians 5:6-10
Responsorial: Psalm 92:2-3, 13-16 2 Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Allowing Jesus to Teach Us the Mysteries of the Kingdom
To his own disciples he explained everything in private. (Mark 4:34)
Jesus spent a lot of time explaining things to his apostles “in private.” He interpreted parables for them (Matthew 15:15-20). He asked them what they thought about him and his mission (Mark 8:27-29). He gave them detailed instructions on how to preach and heal people (Matthew 10:1-42). John’s Gospel contains five whole chapters filled with private teachings Jesus gave them on the night before he died (John 13–17). Even after he rose from the dead, he continued to explain things to them (Luke 24:44-45; Acts 1:3)!
Matthew tells us that Jesus did this “because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” had been given to them above and beyond what everyone else could understand (Matthew 13:11). But things are a little different today. Now we all have the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to take what is Jesus’ and teach it to us (John 16:14). Because of the Spirit, we can all hear Jesus teaching us in the privacy of our own hearts!
So do you want, as Matthew put it, to “look but do not see and hear but do not listen” (Matthew 13:13)? Or do you want to be taught the mysteries of the kingdom? The choice is yours.
Jesus likes to communicate with us. He will share his insights with anyone who comes to him with a listening attitude. The disciples wanted to be with Jesus. They wanted to hear what he had to say, and he willingly answered them. The same can be true for all of us.
If you want Jesus to teach you, then be sure to seek him in prayer every day. Take the time in prayer to ponder the Mass readings; see if any verses catch your eye. If so, write them down, and revisit them during your day. If you sense the Lord asking you to do something specific or to try to change an attitude, follow through. Step-by-step, you’ll find that Jesus himself is teaching you!
“Lord, open my mind so that I can understand.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- The first reading ends with these words: “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD,bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.” What do you think these verses mean? How do they apply to how we are to live our lives? How are you doing?
- The Responsorial Psalm begins with these words: “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your kindness at dawn, and your faithfulness throughout the night.” How would you describe the “kindness” and “faithfulness” of the Lord in your life? How much time do you spend each day to “give thanks” and “sing praise” to the Lord for this kindness and faithfulness? What are some additional ways you can increase this time?
- The Responsorial Psalm, like the first reading, also compares our lives to the “trees of the field” with these words: “The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow. They that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit even in old age; vigorous and sturdy shall they be, declaring how just is the LORD, my rock, in whom there is no wrong.” In what ways do you believe God is calling you to “flourish” and “bear fruit” for him “in the house of the Lord”?
- The second reading contains the very familiar verse: “we walk by faith, not by sight.” What do these words mean to you? In what areas of your life do you tend to walk by sight, not by faith? What steps can you take to change this?
- In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells two parables about the Kingdom of God. If someone were to ask you to describe the meaning of these parables, how would you answer them?
- Just as in the Gospel reading, the meditation also reminds us that “Jesus spent a lot of time explaining things to his apostles in private.” Unlike the early disciples, we do not have the Lord with us in person to “explain everything in private” (Mark 4:34). But, as the meditation goes on to say, “Now we all have the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to take what is Jesus’ and teach it to us (John 16:14). Because of the Spirit, we can all hear Jesus teaching us in the privacy of our own hearts!” The meditation also suggests some steps to take to allow Jesus to teach us the “the mysteries of the kingdom.” What are some ways you can implement these steps in your daily prayer and walk with the Lord?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to open your mind so that you can understand, in a deeper way, “the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11). Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.