Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading Proverbs 9:1-6 Responsorial: Psalm 34:2-7
2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20 Gospel: John 6: 51-58
Be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
Today is exam day. And to make it a little easier, we have reprinted today’s second reading:
15Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, 16making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 18And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Fill in the blank—identify five important transitions in this passage:
1. From foolish to w _ _ _ (verse 15)
2. From ignorant to understanding the w _ _ _ of the Lord (verse 17)
3. From drunk on wine to being f _ _ _ _ _ with the Spirit (verse 18)
4. Addressing one another in p _ _ _ _ _, h _ _ _ _, and spiritual s _ _ _ _ (verse 19)
5. Giving t _ _ _ _ _ always for everything (verse 20)
Paul said, “Be filled with the Spirit,” and he told us how. So in your prayer today, do three things:
1. Read one psalm and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s grace and wisdom. Try to sense what he is saying to you: perhaps a new insight, perhaps a sense of encouragement, perhaps guidance on how to act at work today.
2. Thank Jesus for all of your blessings.
3. Address every person you meet today with kindness and love, generosity and patience. Make this your spiritual song to them.
“Lord, come and fill me with your love.”
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion:
1. The first reading from Proverbs begins with these words: Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns; she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table. It continues with these words: She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: “Let whoever is simple turn in here; To the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”
- How do these words apply to how we are to come to the Lord’s Table at Mass, to pray, and to 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. The Responsorial Psalm opens with these words: I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name. The psalm goes on to describe the fruit of such individual and corporate worship: I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.
- What do the opening words of the psalm mean to you? How can you make them a greater reality in your life?
- Why do you think earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer and worship, as described in the psalm, can result in deliverance “from all my fears,” a face “radiant with joy,” and a face that does “not blush with shame”?
- What are some examples of this from your own life?
3. In the second reading from the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul begins his letter with these words: Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
- In what ways do these words apply to doing an examination of conscience?
- How often do you take 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”?
4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus speaks these words to a shocked and incredulous people: I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. These words from the Gospel reading are a clear reference to the Eucharist
- Through our participation in the Eucharist, the Lord is promising us that we will be raised up and live forever. What impact does this truth have on how you live out your life each day?
- Saint John Paul II once noted that understanding this vision of our future with God increases “rather than lessens our sense of responsibility for the world today.” What part do you think the Lord is calling you to play in the transformation of the world in Christ?
5. 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. It ends with these words: Paul said, “Be filled with the Spirit,” and he told us how. So in your prayer today, do three things: 1. Read one psalm and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s grace and wisdom. Try to sense what he is saying to you: perhaps a new insight, perhaps a sense of encouragement, perhaps guidance on how to act at work today. 2. Thank Jesus for all of your blessings. 3. Address every person you meet today with kindness and love, generosity and patience. Make this your spiritual song to them.
- 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?
- How can you apply the three things suggested in the meditation to your personal times of prayer?
Take some time now to pray and ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, who is described in Romans 5:5 with these words: hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“Lord, come and fill me with your love.”