Reflections for Sunday, July 17, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43)

Hearing God Speak to Us: A Work of the Holy Spirit 

 The Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26)

 Have you ever noticed how ready we are to take up one form of prayer—petition—and how uncomfortable we tend to feel about other forms, especially the kind of prayer mentioned in today’s second reading? We tend to be very good at asking God for his help or healing, for an end to war and abortion, or for grace and protection for family members. There seems to be no end to our needs, and no lack of confidence that God will hear and answer us.

Of course, this is a very good way to pray, and God loves to pour out his blessings in response to our petitions. But there is another form of prayer that is just as valuable and just as necessary to our spiritual lives: the prayer that listens for God’s wisdom and revelation. In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses parables and analogies to teach the crowd how to understand the kingdom of God. And behind every parable and story Jesus told was his desire to “announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35).

Jesus isn’t done unveiling mysteries to his people. Through his Holy Spirit, he wants to unfold the truths of the gospel to each one of us, just as he has done for countless believers throughout the centuries. He wants to help us understand the things of God so that we can take hold of his kingdom more fully each day and bear fruit in this world.

At Mass today, let the Holy Spirit come to the aid of your spiritual weakness. As you listen to the Scripture readings, ask the Spirit to show you God’s kingdom in a new way. During Communion, tell him that you’re ready to listen to whatever he puts on your heart. Then, watch and see how the Spirit works.

“Come, Holy Spirit, and guide my prayer. You know the mind of God. You know the deepest desires of his heart. By your grace, open my eyes to these mysteries. Help me see Jesus more clearly.” 

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

Questions for Reflection/Discussion 

  1. In the first reading, we hear that “those who are just must be kind”.  How does the cross reflect God’s justice and kindness toward you? In what way is there a conflict between justice and kindness in your life? What steps can you take to reduce this conflict?
  2. In the responsorial psalm, we also read that God is “forgiving” and “merciful”. We know that God forgives us when we confess our sins? How ready are you to forgive those who have wronged you? Why do we have a tendency to demand justice from God for others and but mercy for ourselves? Why is this contrary to the Gospel?
  3. In the letter to the Romans,St. Paultells us that the “Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.”  How often during the day do you turn to the Holy Spirit, present in each baptized Catholic, to seek help and guidance?  What steps can you take to change that?
  4. In the Gospel, we see that the smallest of actions (e.g., the sowing of a “mustard seed” and the mixing of “yeast” with flour) can have a very large effect. What areas of your life would some small steps by you have a major impact? Are you willing to take these steps? Why or why not?
  5. The meditation speak of the type of the prayer “that listens for God’s wisdom and revelation.”  In your times of prayer or at Mass, how can you open yourself more to hear God speaking to you, through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in you?
  6. Take some time now to pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit and a heart and mind open to the Lord’s revelation and wisdom. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the 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. Maurice can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) or (Enable Javascript to see the email address).)

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

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