Reflections for Sunday, March 23, 2014

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)

Lent, A Time to Sharpen Our Spiritual Focus

If you knew the gift of God … (John 4:10)

It is a constant challenge to see spiritual reality in the midst of our everyday lives. One of the gifts of Lent is the opportunity to sharpen our spiritual focus so that we can pay closer attention to our environment and find God in all things around us.

Today’s Gospel reading shows Jesus helping people see spiritual truths that they might otherwise miss. The Samaritan woman came to the well looking for a jar of water, and that’s where Jesus began the conversation. But within a few minutes, they had discussed living water, worship, and the promised Messiah. Then the disciples returned with lunch, and Jesus used the food as a way to explain both his mission and the work of evangelization that lay before them.

Jesus wasn’t just being “super spiritual.” A man like us in all things but sin, he probably was thirsty and hungry. He knew how refreshing a cup of cool water can feel on a hot day. He knew how energizing a good meal is after a long day’s work. So he used these realities to teach us about the Spirit’s power to refresh our lives and the grace of the Eucharist to strengthen us for our journey.

This is how God works. He uses every part of our ordinary, everyday lives to teach us about the extraordinary, heavenly life that he is offering us. So as you seek a clearer spiritual focus during this season, remember that you don’t have to leave the physical world behind. God will speak to you through it! He didn’t enter this world to take us out of it. He came to redeem it and fill it with his divine power and grace. He took on our flesh in order to redeem our bodies and teach us to find his presence everywhere we look.

Let Jesus talk to you today. Listen for his voice as you take a drink of water, fold the laundry, drive to work, or cook a meal. He wants to tell you something good!

“Here I am, Lord, ready to hear your voice.”

(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 or Group Discussion

  1. In the first reading, the people’s response to thirst was grumbling against God and Moses.  What is your heart like when faced with difficulties?  Do you have a complaining and blaming spirit? How do you think God wants you to respond when facing trials? What steps can you take to cause this to happen?
  2. In the responsorial psalm, we are instructed not to harden our hearts and not to put God to the test, as the Israelites did in the first reading. How would you describe the hardened hearts of the grumbling Israelites? What are some of the circumstances that can cause you to go from grumbling to hardening your heart and not turning to the Lord in expectant faith? What practical steps can you take that will allow you to thaw such a hardened heart?
  3. In the second reading, St. Paul tells us the love of God has been “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Specifically, at Mass you have an opportunity, through the Eucharist and prayer, to have the very life and love of God “poured” into your hearts through the Holy Spirit. How can you better prepare yourself to receive such a gift?
  4. In the second reading, we are also given the example of Christ’s love for us who died and forgave us while we were still sinners. We received this gift of forgiveness even though we didn’t deserve it. Is there someone or some relationship you are holding hostage until the other person takes the first step?  What actions can you take to be the first to reach out with the gift of forgiveness? It is a gift none of us deserves, but it needs to be freely given.
  5. In the Gospel, we return to the metaphor of water.  Jesus promised living water to the woman, and she ran to the townspeople so that they too could share in the life of God.  What can you do this week to bring others to Jesus, the fountain of life? Can you identify one person in your family, neighborhood, or at work that you can reach out to this week with the love of Christ?  Are you willing to do it?
  6. The meditation tells us that Jesus “took on our flesh in order to redeem our bodies and teach us to find his presence everywhere we look.”  How well are you doing at finding and sensing Jesus’ presence in your everyday life.  What steps can you take to strengthen your experience of his presence?
  7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to be more open and sensitive to his presence and his voice. 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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