Reflections for Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(1 Samuel 3:3-10,19; Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20; John 1:35-42)

The Importance of Listening to and Saying Yes to the Lord

The Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect. (1 Samuel 3:19)

Learning how to listen to the voice of the Lord is key to spiritual growth. Every saint’s life illustrates this point in one way or another. Francis of Assisi heard the Lord say, “Rebuild my Church,” and even though it took him some time to understand what God meant, Francis was faithful to that command. Mother Teresa felt God ask her to leave her order and care for the poorest of the poor. These saints, and so many others, responded because these words had a powerful effect on them.

But it isn’t just in the deep, life-changing moments that God wants to speak to us. In fact, these saints could hear these “big” messages because they had experience discerning the quieter messages that Jesus put in their hearts. And that’s how it can happen for us. When we sense God telling us, “Come to me, and I will give you peace,” we can stop for a moment and turn our hearts to him. Or when we hear “Come and confess your sins,” we can make a quick examination of conscience and ask for his mercy. Responding to these small promptings will bring us closer to the Lord—and they’ll help us hear him in the bigger areas of our lives!

The Holy Spirit never tires of telling us that Jesus has redeemed us and is offering us new life. He never tires of nudging us toward more virtuous behavior so that we can become more like Christ. He never tires of helping us find the way to peace, the peace that comes from aligning ourselves with his will.

Yielding to the Lord and letting him have an effect on us—this is our great challenge. It’s easy to go our own way without listening for God’s word. But when we see the fruit of hearing and following him, we know it is the greatest treasure we can possibly have.

“Open my ears, Lord, to hear your word. Give me the courage to follow you wherever you lead.”

(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 Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

  1. In the first reading, we hear these words, “At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.” However, through Eli’s words to him, he was able to say to the Lord, “Speak, for your servant is listening” and the Lord began to reveal himself to him. In what ways has the Lord revealed himself to you? Have you ever said to the Lord in your times of prayer and reflection: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”? If you did what happened, and if you haven’t, what do you think would happen?
  2. The responsorial psalm calls us to humbly turn to the Lord with these words, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.” The psalmist expresses this even further with these words: “to do your will, O my God, is my delight.” What part does doing the Lord’s will play in how you live your own life? Is it your “delight”? What steps can you take to be more in tune with the Lord’s will for your life?
  3. The second reading ends with these challenging words: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). What role does the Holy Spirit (“within you”) play in discerning God’s call for your life? What can you do to give him a bigger role? What are some ways you can “glorify God in your body”?
  4. In the Gospel reading, Peter was helped by Andrew in bringing him to the Lord and recognizing the call of the Lord for his life (as was Samuel by Eli in the first reading). In what ways has God used others to help you in knowing the Lord and discerning his will for your life?
  5. Do you believe that Jesus wants to open your heart to experience his love more deeply, so that you too will be compelled, like Andrew in the Gospel reading, to tell others about the Lord and to help in bringing them to him? Why or why not?
  6. The meditation ends with these words: “Yielding to the Lord and letting him have an effect on us—this is our great challenge. It’s easy to go our own way without listening for God’s word. But when we see the fruit of hearing and following him, we know it is the greatest treasure we can possibly have.” What do “Yielding to the Lord” and “listening for God’s words” mean to you? How can you make them a greater reality in your life?
  7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to give you ears to hear his voice, and the courage to say yes to his will and act on it. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

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