Reflecitons for Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 8:23–9:3; Psalm 27:1,4,13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12-23)

The Power of Forgivness in Healing Divisions

I urge … that you be united. (1 Corinthians 1:10) 

The Corinthian church was out of control. Some members were visiting prostitutes. One was even having an affair with his stepmother! They were taking each other to court. Some were abusing the Lord’s Supper. Others did not believe in the resurrection. No matter where you looked, there were signs of division and discord. 

Are there divisions in your home? If so, take heart, because Jesus wants to help you resolve them. Look at the way Paul responded to the Corinthians’ chaotic situation. Before he addressed any specific issues, he thanked God for all the blessings they had received. “God is faithful,” he wrote. “He will keep you firm to the end” (1 Corinthians 1:9, 8). 

Paul didn’t panic. He knew the Corinthians were in God’s hands. Confident in that knowledge, he addressed their challenges one by one, patiently and carefully. 

This is a model for our families. Even if your home appears to be out of control, always remember that the Lord is present with you. He is always pouring his blessings on you, always offering grace for healing and reconciliation. 

So bless your home every day. Use holy water if you can. Set the tone for the rest of your family. Try to practice forgiveness at every opportunity. Without forgiveness, division gains the upper hand and can cause deep wounds. But with forgiveness, the divisions caused by all kinds of sin can be disarmed. Judgments can stop; wounds can be healed. 

Not only does forgiveness resolve the specific division; it can also help heal divisive behavior in general so that there is more unity. And with more unity comes more love. So let’s make it our goal to practice forgiveness. Let’s ask Jesus to heal all divisions! 

“Lord, I consecrate my home to you. Come, Holy Spirit, and teach us how to forgive one another.” 

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. In the first reading, Isaiah speaks of the great promise we have been given of “abundant joy” and “great rejoicing”.  This is a promise for each one of us, for in Christ the “yoke” that has “burdened” us has been “smashed.”  Does your Christian witness reflect this great joy that you have received, even during difficult times?  How can you make your life a greater reflection of it? 
  2. In the Responsorial, Psalm 27 reflects these promises as well by telling us that we shall “see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living,” not just when we get to heaven.  And this will occur when we “gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.”  What does this mean to you?  What role does your prayer and Scripture reading play in this? 
  3. In the second reading, St. Paul urged that Christian brothers and sisters in the church at Corinth overcome their many “rivalries,” and be united in Christ and have no divisions.  How can you help build greater unity within your parish? 
  4. During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, what steps can you take individually, and together, to promote Christian unity with non-Catholic Christians? Why not spend time this week praying for Christian unity?
  5. In the Gospel, Jesus begins his preaching with the word “repent”.  Did you spend any time during the previous week reflecting on, and repenting of any sins you may have committed (what you have done or omitted doing)?  How important is it for you to have a regularly scheduled examination of conscience, for example, as part of your daily prayer life? How important should it be? 
  6. In the Gospel, we are also told that when called by the Lord the disciples responded “immediately,” and left everything to follow him. What are some of the obstacles that can keep you from responding immediately when the Lord calls you or reveals his will to you? What steps can you take, with the Lord, to overcome them?.
  7. In the meditation, we hear ends these words: “Not only does forgiveness resolve the specific division; it can also help heal divisive behavior in general so that there is more unity. And with more unity comes more love.” Do you believe this? Why or why not? The meditation then ends with these words: “So let’s make it our goal to practice forgiveness. Let’s ask Jesus to heal all divisions!” We are called to forgive one another as God has forgiven us. Is there someone in your family (or outside of it) that needs to experience your forgiveness?. Are you willing to gift them this freeing gift of forgiveness? 
  8. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to bring healing and reconciliation to your family through the gift of forgiveness. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.

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

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