Reflections for Sunday, August 11, 2013

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1,12,18-22; Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19; Luke 12:32-48)

 Allowing the Gift of Faith to Impact Our Lives More Deeply

 Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

 In a practical way, we live by faith all the time. We have faith that our doctors are competent. That’s why we let them prescribe medicines and operate on us. Every time we board a plane, we are placing our faith in a pilot we don’t even know. Without faith life would be very difficult. We wouldn’t be able to trust anyone.

 Similarly, faith on a spiritual level has to do with confidence and trust. Commenting on today’s second reading, St. John Chrysostom said that faith is “a confidence that allows us to make our daily decisions about future hopes based on a certain amount of present evidence.”

In other words, faith allows us to take the evidence that is right before our eyes—evidence of God’s presence, his goodness, and his love—and trust that our Father will not abandon us. Still, in the back of our minds, there’s always a voice telling us that there are no guarantees. “Cover your bases,” it whispers. “Keep your options open. What if God doesn’t come through?”

Don’t listen to it! The faith that the author of Hebrews extols here is not the limited faith we have in doctors and bankers. It’s a radical, all-encompassing faith. It’s a gift from God—the supernatural grace to trust in the unseen just as Abraham, Moses, Ruth, and David did. It’s the spiritual influence that that convinces us that Jesus is who he says he is. It tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth and that we will be raised up to be with Jesus forever as long as we stay faithful here and now.

Let the gift of faith move you today. Let it help you place your trust in things that are, for now, only a hope. And try your best to let the evidence that Jesus has already given you become the foundation for your trust in all of his future promises.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”

(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. The first reading today speaks of awaiting the salvation of the just. How patient are you in waiting for (and on) the Lord? What are the circumstances when you aren’t?
  1. The responsorial psalm talks of those who “hope” for God’s kindness. The psalmist also prays: “May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you” (Psalm 33:22). Our Catechism says that hope is both “the confident expectation of divine blessing” and “the fear of offending God’s love.” We sin against hope by despair. In what ways can an incorrect view of the nature and character of God, and his disposition towards us, contribute to this despair? Were there any circumstances in your life where you despaired of hope, and in receiving God’s love? What was the final outcome? 
  1. In the Letter to the Hebrews we read the story of Abraham, who did not presume upon his own ideas or his own abilities. He confidently placed his trust in God. What are some times in your life when you stepped out in faith, trusting God that he would protect and sustain you? Is there anything in your life right now that you are fearful of doing — something that God may be asking of you? If so, are you willing to ask the Lord for the faith to say yes to him? If not, why not? 
  1. The Gospel begins with the words: “Do not be afraid”. Jesus tells us why: “for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom”. What steps can you take to open yourself more to receive all that your Heavenly Father wants to give you? 
  1. What is your understanding of St. John Chrysostom words, quoted in the meditation, that faith is “a confidence that allows us to make our daily decisions about future hopes based on a certain amount of present evidence”? How would you describe the ways your faith effects your “daily decisions”? .
  1. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to increase your faith in him, and for the grace to allow your trust and confidence in his love and his promises to have an even greater impact on how you live out each day. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.

The discussion questions were created by Maurice Blumberg, the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) or  (Enable Javascript to see the email address).


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