Reflections for Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

        (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20,22; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)

Meeting Christ in a Deeper Way During Mass

It is good that we are here. (Matthew 17:4)

How ironic! We first see Peter gushing over how good it was to witness Jesus’ transfiguration. How magnificent it must have been! How astounding! Wouldn’t you want to stay there and drink it all in? Wouldn’t you want to linger as long as possible, and maybe even ask Moses and Elijah a couple of questions about heaven?

But then at the very next moment, even as he is basking in the glow of such heavenly radiance, Peter is ready to get to work and build a monument to honor the event.

The problem is, he can’t have it both ways. Either he stays there beholding the glory of the Lord, or he goes down the mountain to get the supplies he needs to begin his construction project. He can’t take this transfigured trio with him, but he can’t build his monument without leaving them behind. What’s an apostle to do?

More to the point, what would you do? It can be very tempting, when we feel the presence of the Lord, to want to go out and begin serving him right away. In the initial enthusiasm after a retreat, perhaps, we eagerly sign up for a couple of ministries at our parish. While this is commendable, we may end up burning out quickly because we are not taking the time to be with the Lord and to “listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).

How important it is that we spend time in Jesus’ presence, immersing ourselves in his love and pondering his word in Scripture! And what better opportunity than at Mass! It is here, where the Liturgy of the Word feeds into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, that you can hear God’s voice and behold his glory. His voice is veiled in the voice of the lectors and preacher, and his glory is veiled in the eucharistic bread and wine. But he is there, ready to fill you with everything you need. So ask him to open your eyes, and your heart will be changed!

“All praise and honor to you, Jesus! Come fill me with your presence. I want to see your face.”

(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

 1. The Church calls Abraham “Our Father in Faith.”  Why? How would you compare your own faith to Abraham’s?

 2. The responsorial psalm provides some of the reasons we can put our faith and hope in God. What are some of these reasons?

3. The responsorial psalm response also uses the words: “we place our trust in you”.  On whom or on what do you rely most?  How can you use this Lent to increase your “trust” in God?

4. In the second reading, St. Paul writes to Timothy to bear his “hardship for the gospel” and to do it “with the strength that comes from God.”  Aside from ordinary practices of penance and mortification, when and how have you experienced “hardships” for the Gospel?  Where did your strength come from to overcome them?

5. St. Paul goes on to say that “immortality” and “light” are ours through a gift from God through Christ; not “according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus.” In what ways can our additional practices of Lenten piety become “works” rather than graces? How can you use the traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent to open yourself to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?

6. In the Gospel, Peter was so excited at seeing Christ’s glory that he wanted to build a monument and remain on the mountain.  The Church also wants us to experience Christ’s presence, especially as we receive him in the Eucharist. What steps can you take to meet Christ in a deeper way during Mass?

7. In the meditation, we hear these words: “How important it is that we spend time in Jesus’ presence, immersing ourselves in his love and pondering his word in Scripture!” Are you willing to commit to spending time everyday in prayer during Lent “in Jesus’ presence” and ponder “his word in Scripture”? What impact do you expect this to have on your life?

(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.