Reflections for Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion(Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2,8-11,13-14; Romans 8:9,11-13; Matthew 11:25-30)

Following Jesus with Greater Zeal and Excitement

You have revealed them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25)

Life is an adventure for little children. If you give them a present, they might play with the wrapping paper or the box it came in as much as the gift itself. Give a young boy a small fire engine, and he’ll imagine himself putting out a giant fire. Give a young girl a doll, and she’ll treat it as her own child. Children are also curious and imaginative, capable of intently focusing on the task at hand—especially when it comes to playtime!

Children have a tendency to keep things simple. They trust their parents. They believe everything their parents tell them. By contrast, we adults ask far too many questions. We like to think things through, weighing the pros and cons and examining every angle. While that’s usually a good thing, too much examination can make it hard for us to be trusting. This is especially true when it comes to faith. That’s why Jesus encourages us to be “childlike” (Matthew 11:25).

Following Jesus is an adventure. It’s about delving into the heart and mind of God. It’s about, as St. Ignatius of Loyola used to say, using our imagination to picture ourselves in biblical times, watching Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes or journeying to the Promised Land with the children of Abraham. It’s about being like an inquisitive child during story time: “Why did the food multiply? How can Jesus be everywhere at the same time? What does an angel look like?”

Whether you are at Mass, at prayer, or just talking to Jesus in the midst of your day, don’t settle for the same old routine. Discipleship should be an adventure, so go ahead and ask him to open your eyes and give you new insights into his stories and his love for you.

One more thing: children love a good hug. So today, imagine Jesus putting his arms around you and drawing you close to his heart. Hear him telling you how precious you are to him. Dare to be a child again.

“Here I am, Jesus, ready for a new adventure with you 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. 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/Discussion

  1. In the first reading, we see the contrast between the Savior who is “meek” and his powerful impact on bringing “peace to the nations.” Can you share an example from your own life where you succeeded by meekness instead of power?
  2. In the first reading, the Lord also tells us to “Rejoice heartily” and to “shout for joy.” In the responsorial psalm, the psalmist tells us to praise, extol, and bless the Lord. What are some things the Lord has done in your life that would cause you to do this?
  3. In the responsorial psalm, we also read of the Lord who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness”. With whom might the Lord be asking you to respond in this matter this week?
  4. In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul asks us to “put to death the deeds of the body.” You can do this because, “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9). In your life, what “deeds of the body” do you need “to put to death”? How do you think the Lord wants you to do it?
  5. In the Gospel, Jesus says that when it comes to revelation, his Father has “hidden these things from the wise and learned,” but he has “revealed them to little ones.” What specifically can you do this week to better hear from the Lord in prayer, through Scriptures, or at Mass?
  6. Jesus also says in the Gospel that he will make the Father known to us. In light of the following words of Jesus, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), what do you think the Father is like?
  7. The meditation ends with these words: “Dare to be a child again.” What do these words mean to you regarding your relationship with your heavenly Father and Jesus?
  8. Take some time now to pray that you would experience a new zeal, and a new sense of expectancy, for what Jesus wants to do in your life. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

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

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