Reflections for Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

Mass Readings:
1st Reading Proverbs 9:1-6
2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20
Responsorial: Psalm 34:2-7
Gospel: John 6:51-58

Living a Life Controlled by the Holy Spirit

Be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)

Today’s second reading is rich in wisdom. So let’s take a short quiz on it to see how much we can get out of it. (You may need a Bible.)

1. Paul tells us to “watch” how we live (Ephesians 5:15). What are the three ways he suggests to watch?

2. Name two notable changes Paul identifies when we are filled with the Spirit.

3. Fill in the blanks.
a. If you are filled with anger, then ____ controls your life.
b. If you are going to do things your way, then ___ will run your life.
c. If you are filled with love, then ____ will control the way you live.
d. If you are filled with the Spirit, then the ____ _____ will control your life.

As an apostle and evangelist, St. Paul was a master builder of Christian communities. In these few verses, we can see a summary of his building plans. First, he focuses on what not to do. Don’t live foolishly. Don’t be ignorant about God’s plan. Don’t get caught up in overindulgence. Then, he focuses on what we should do instead. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let the words of Scripture—especially the psalms—flow out of your heart and from your lips. Share your love for Jesus with one another. Pray together. Thank the Lord for all his good gifts.

So there you have it—a foolproof plan for making your home into a dwelling place of the Lord!

“Holy Spirit, come and fill me up.”

 (Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)

  1. In the first reading from Proverbs, we are invited by the Lord to come to his table and “eat of my food.” As we do this, we will receive wisdom, life, and understanding. We are only asked to come in simplicity, forsake foolishness, and seek understanding – that is, to be open to be taught by the Lord. This can occur as we come to the Lord’s Table at Mass, as we pray, and as we read Scriptures. In what ways can you make yourself more open to the Lord, especially in areas of your life that you tend to reserve to yourself, and from which God might be excluded?
  2. In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist challenges us with these words: “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be ever in my mouth.” What do these words mean to you? How can you make them a greater reality in your life?
  3. The psalmist also calls us to “glorify the Lord” and “extol his name” together. The fruit of such individual and corporate worship and seeking of the Lord is deliverance “from all my fears,” a face “radiant with joy,” and a face that does “not blush with shame.” What steps can you take to deepen your personal prayer life and worship, and to be more active in your worship at Mass and in your receipt of the Eucharist?
  4. In the second reading from the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul begins his letter with these words: “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.” One way to do this is by an examination of conscience. How often do you take the time to examine your conscience in order to review your day? What difference do you think a daily examination of conscience could make in your battle with the “world, the flesh, and the devil”?
  5. In the Gospel reading, how Jesus must have shocked the crowd when he talked of living forever and being raised up on the last day by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, a clear reference to the Eucharist. Through our participation in the Eucharist we too are promised that we will be raised up and live forever. Saint John Paul II once noted that this vision of our future with God increases “rather than lessens our sense of responsibility for the world today.” We draw our very life from the Eucharist as well as our commitment to transform the world in accordance with the Gospel. How would you describe the ways you are drawing life from the Eucharist? In addition, what part do you think the Lord is calling you to play in this transformation of the world in Christ?
  6. The meditation uses a “short quiz” to summarize St. Paul’s description in the second reading on what not to do and what to do in living a Spirit-filled life. In your own words, how would you summarize what it means to be “filled with the Spirit” and to live a life controlled by the Holy Spirit?
  7. Take some time now to pray and ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, so that you have the power to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

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