Reflections for Sunday, November 7, 2015

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

Mass Readings:
1st Reading 1 Kings 17:10-16
2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
Responsorial: Psalm 146:7-10
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44

Eagerly Awaiting the Second Coming of Christ

Christ … will appear a second time … to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him. (Hebrews 9:28)

November marks the final month in the Church year, a time when we reflect on death, the Second Coming of Christ, and the life that is to come. In his first coming, Jesus entered the world humbly, as a child. But his return will be much different. This time, he will come in glory as Judge and Ruler.

The Old Testament prophets foretold “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). Isaiah prophesied that when the Messiah comes in glory, the whole earth will be made new. There will be no fighting between people or between nations. Evil will be destroyed; peace will reign. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,” and perfect peace will reign (11:6).

In the New Testament, the Book of Revelation gives us an even richer set of images. John tells us, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth” and “the holy city” (Revelation 21:1, 2). He saw a place where God “will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (21:4). Such a beautiful description would make any of us long to see the kingdom come!

Instead of trying to push aside any thoughts about death and dying, let’s treasure passages like these. Let’s welcome the thought of one day being with Jesus, and let’s eagerly await his coming. There will always be a fearful element in the thought of death, and our fear of the unknown may never go away completely. But fear doesn’t have to control us. We worship a God who is faithful and merciful!

Scripture promises, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). So let’s embrace this gift, and look forward to our heavenly home.

“Jesus, I believe in you! Fill my heart with a longing for heaven.”

(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

  1. In the First Reading, we meet a widow who is down on her luck, and who is about to run out of the little bit of flour and oil she had left. Elijah comes along and asks her to bake him some bread, and then she hears these astounding words from him: “For the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” Because of her great faith and trust in God, and in what Elijah told her, “She left and did as Elijah had said.” Her act of obedience was greatly rewarded. In what way does this reading stress the importance of faith in God and the fruits of being obedient to his words? Was there ever a time when you were obedient to something difficult that you believed the Lord wanted you to do? What was the result of that obedience?
  2. The Responsorial Psalm speaks of the Lord’s faithfulness to the most needy — the oppressed, hungry, captives, blind, fatherless, widows, and those who are bowed down. In what way is this a call for us to imitate the Lord by reaching out to others less fortunate than we are? What are some specific ways you can respond to this call?
  3. The Second Reading speaks of Jesus’ first coming and second coming with these words: “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.” In light of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins at his first coming, why should we be joyful and expectant when we think of his second coming? If you do not “eagerly await” Jesus’ second coming, what are the reasons?
  4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus contrasts the difference between the behavior of the scribes and that of the poor widow. Why do you think Jesus did this? How would you describe the difference? How does it apply to your own life?
  5. In what way is the poor widow’s action in the Gospel reading similar to actions of the poor widow in the first reading?
  6. The meditation uses many Scriptures from the Old and New Testament to describe the Second Coming of Christ: “new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17), “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6), “I saw a new heaven and a new earth” and “the holy city” (Revelation 21:1, 2) , a place where God “will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (Revelation 21:4). What do these words mean to you? How do these and other Scriptures help us to “look forward to our heavenly home”?
  7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to deepen your faith in him and give you a greater longing for heaven. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.