Reflections for Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

 (Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145:8-9,15-18; Romans 8:35,37-39; Matthew 14:13-21)

 Living Under God’s Economy

 They all ate and were satisfied (Matthew 14:20).

We live under a tremendous economy — God’s economy, that is. Even as the world’s market systems soar and plummet, God’s economy remains stable because it is founded on his word. His economy includes salvation for all who believe, the indwelling Holy Spirit, forgiveness of all our sins, and the hope of heaven, where all pain, suffering, and sadness are wiped away. This is a rich economy indeed!

Today’s Gospel reading demonstrates just how rich our heavenly Father is, and how eager he is to share his riches with all of us. The people Jesus fed with five loaves and two fishes were ordinary folks. They weren’t kings and queens. They weren’t celebrities or sports heroes. They probably weren’t even all that well educated. But it didn’t matter. God was willing to share his choicest blessings with them, simply because they had spent time with Jesus, trying their best to grasp his message of salvation. They did nothing to earn this miracle, and many of them probably left that day thinking about the food they had eaten more than pondering Jesus’ words. But it didn’t matter. God’s people were in need, and he cared for them.

It is humbling to know that we are children of such a generous God. And it is amazing that the covenant this generous God has made with us is founded on two words: “I will” (Hebrews 8:10,12). God will teach and lead. God will forgive. God will provide what we lack. As he did for the hungry crowd in today’s Gospel, he will provide for our needs (Matthew 14:20-21).

We have so many great promises from our God. Are you enjoying them? Or are you still looking forward, waiting, and hoping, but not fully receiving? Today, tell the Lord that you want to live in the economy he has afforded you!

“Father, thank you that I can know you and enjoy your presence today. Help me to trust your promise, ‘I will,’ in every circumstance that I face today.”

(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 these words, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come receive grain and eat. Come, without paying and without cost.”  What an offer!  All Jesus is asking is that we “come” to Him and he will give us everything we need, and we will “delight in rich fare”. How would you describe your “thirst” for the Lord? What specific things can you do to increase that thirst and “come” more closely to the Lord?
  2. Again in the responsorial psalm, we read that the Lord will feed us and answer all our needs.  What are the needs in your life that require the Lord’s grace and power?  In these areas, how do you want the Lord to “feed” you?
  3. In the second reading,St. Paulreviews the circumstances of life (anguish, distress, persecution, etc) and concludes that none of it can separate us from Christ’s love. In what ways do your circumstances sometimes get in the way of your experiencing Christ’s love? How can you use this revelation on God’s love to guide your prayer time and how you live out your day?
  4. In the Gospel, we read that Jesus’ “heart was moved with pity” for the  people, so he cures their sick and  feeds them with earthly bread.  But at every Mass, we are fed by Christ with Himself, the bread of eternal life.  How hungry are you for this bread of life? How can you increase your hunger for Jesus, the bread of life?
  5. In describing God’s economy, the meditation includes the following promises: “salvation for all who believe, the indwelling Holy Spirit, forgiveness of all our sins, and the hope of heaven, where all pain, suffering, and sadness are wiped away.” How would you describe the differences these promises have made in your life?
  6. Take some time now to pray for an increase in your faith in God’s promises for your life. 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.