Reflections for Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12)

By Knowing Jesus, We Come to Know What the Father is Like

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).Marybeth is a born athlete, just like her father. Allie and her siblings have their mom’s flashing dark eyes and her spirit of community service. When John laughs, you’d think his dad was in the room.

An old saying tells us that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, meaning that kids are likely to take on their parents’ features, philosophies, and behaviors. And though some apples roll far from the parental tree, the likeness can still be quite remarkable.

Even so, nothing can compare to the “like Father, like Son” relationship we see in today’s Gospel!

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Linger over this for a moment and consider who this Father is. He is the all-powerful Creator of the universe, the Author of life who keeps everything in existence. He is the God whose beauty, only partially revealed, dazzled Moses and made his face so radiant that people were afraid to approach him (Exodus 34:30-35). Seeing this “holy, holy, holy” Lord of hosts on his heavenly throne, Isaiah was so overcome that he feared for his life (Isaiah 6:1-5). Glorious in holiness, robed in light, majestic beyond compare—that’s the Father.

And that is the Son as well. To see the one is to see the other, for “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10,11). Writing about these verses, one scholar said that it is a “peak point in the mountain ranges of revelation.” The God of ages is fully and definitively revealed in human form! If you want to know what God is like and how to reach him, look to Jesus. He has given you access to every grace and spiritual gift, to an imperishable inheritance, and to none other than God himself!

“Thank you, Father, for letting me see and hear what many prophets and saints longed for. Thank you, Jesus, for revealing God’s face of love. Come, Holy Spirit, and bring me to a deeper and deeper knowledge of 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.)

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. In the first reading, we see that the Holy Spirit provided the Apostles with a creative solution to their time management problems, especially how to provide a time for their spiritual life in the midst of their busyness. In what ways do you struggle to find a daily time for prayer and Scripture reading in the midst of your busyness?  How often do you ask the Lord to assist you?  In order to get in a daily prayer time and Scripture reading, what creative solutions can you and the Holy Spirit come up with in order that you not neglect your spiritual life and the Word of God?
  2. The responsorial psalm says that our praise and worship of God is “fitting.” What are some of the reasons the psalmist gives for this praise and worship? To what extent are your times of prayer devoted to “exult,” “praise,” and “give thanks” to God versus just addressing your needs? How can you change this?
  3. In the second reading, St. Peter says that we are to let ourselves “be built into a spiritual house” for God.  What part do you think God wants you to be in his house? If you are in a small group, spend some time between now and your next meeting asking the Holy Spirit to let you know more clearly what part of the house you are to be — and then share it with the others.
  4. St. Peter also says we are to “announce the praises” of God who “called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” How have you experienced this in your life? In what ways are you still holding onto parts that are in the darkness?
  5. Jesus speaks these words in the Gospel reading: “If you know me then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7); “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9); “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:10,11). In what ways do you have problems believing that God the Father has the same loving, kind, gentle and merciful attributes as Jesus? Why do you think this is so?
  6. The meditation ends with these words “If you want to know what God is like and how to reach him, look to Jesus. He has given you access to every grace and spiritual gift, to an imperishable inheritance, and to none other than God himself!” Do you believe this? What practical steps can you take to make this a greater reality in your life? What are you willing to commit to?
  7. Take some time now to pray that you would come to know and experience more deeply the love and mercy of Jesus, and through that, to come to know the great love and mercy of your heavenly Father. 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.

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