Reflections for Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23; Psalm 137:1-6; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21)

Thanking and Praising God for his Great Love and Mercy

“God, who is rich in mercy.” (Ephesians 2:4)

Heavenly Father, how great is your love! I am amazed at the depth of your mercy toward me. Your love is perfect and unchanging, and you never take your eyes off of me. You are all I need, for you sustain me with the bread of life and the cup of salvation. You are worthy of all praise and honor and glory!

From the very beginning, Father, your arms have always been open wide, ready to receive me whenever I return to you in repentance and humility. When I had turned away from you and my sin had separated me from you, you never forgot me. You never forsook me. You loved me so much that you let your only Son bear my sin on the cross. I was dead, but you brought me to life. I was mired in guilt, but you washed me clean. You gave me a new heart and a new mind. I rejoice that I can freely come to you and hear your words of life. I rejoice that I can know you as my Father!

Jesus, you are seated in the heav­ens with all authority and power. You are exalted as Lord over heaven and earth, and all praise and glory belong to you. I celebrate the fact that you have reached out your hand to me, inviting me to be seated in heaven with you. Yes, Lord! You have raised me up and given me authority over sin.

You have given me power to resist the evil one. You have made me a coheir with you of all the riches and blessings of heaven. How can I help but praise you and love you?

Lord, you have done so much for me! When I was helpless and could do nothing on my own, you poured out grace so that I could believe in you and receive your help and power. You loved me first, so that I could turn and love you. How amaz­ing you are!

“Jesus, I rejoice in your amazing grace. I glory in your unfailing mercy. It is such a privilege to belong to you!”

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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. In today’s first reading, a pagan, gentile king of Persia, Cyrus, is inspired by the Lord to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem after the “infidelity” and “abominations” introduced there by God’s own people resulted in its destruction!  God’s own people had ignored his warnings and despised his word. What things in your life do you believe God may be asking you to change in order to live a life more pleasing to him?  Do you believe that the Cross of Christ and the Holy Spirit dwelling in you have the power to change and transform you? Why or why not?
  2. The Responsorial Psalm reminds us of God’s faithfulness to his people, in spite of their own unfaithfulness. How strong is your conviction that God will be faithful to the promises he has made to his Church, the Body of Christ, in spite of its scandals and sins, and the persecutions and attacks against it? What steps can you take to pray and intercede more often for the Church and its leaders?
  3. In the second reading, St. Paul states that God “brought us to life in Christ…. so that he might show in the ages to come…. the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ” (Ephesians 2:5-7).  He goes on to say that we are Christ’s “handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them” (Ephesians 2:10). What profound truths. In what way is your life an example to others of God’s kindness and the riches of his grace?  In what ways are your Lenten observances making your life an even greater witness of Christ to others?
  4. Share some examples of men whose lives and actions have brought the light of Christ into your world. What impact did they have on your life? How can you, together with the other men, share the love, life, and light of Christ with others?
  5. John 3:16 which is part of today’s Gospel (and frequently appears at sporting events) beautifully and succinctly encapsulates the entire Bible: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” During Lent, how can you deepen your gratefulness for the price God had to pay to forgive you of your sins and bring you to eternal life?
  6. The whole meditation is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God the Father and Jesus based in part on the second reading from Ephesians 2:4-10. Take some time now to use this prayer to thank the Lord for his great love and mercy.

[Maurice Blumberg is 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. He can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) (Enable Javascript to see the email address) or (Enable Javascript to see the email address) (Enable Javascript to see the email address).]

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