Reflections for Sunday, May 8, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

     (Acts 2:1-14, 22-33; Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)

The Transforming Power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

‘God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:32)

The resurrection of Jesus was at the heart of Peter’s message on Pentecost, and it became his mission statement for the rest of his life.

Two thousand years later, God still wants the resurrection to be at the heart of our faith. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:  “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross: Christ is risen from the dead!” (CCC 638).

Just as the apostles were first-century witnesses to the resurrection, God calls us to be twenty-first-century witnesses to the very same event. He wants us to be bold and steadfast as we testify to the transformation that Jesus’ resurrection has brought about in our own lives. Of course we should try to witness through our good deeds, but he also calls us to speak clearly, excitedly, and joyfully about the basis for our hope and our faith. And what is that basis? Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Take time today to reflect on the concrete ways that the reality of Jesus’ resurrection has changed your life. How has it given you hope? Strength? Comfort? Peace? Try to boil it down into a couple of sentences. Make it into a proclamation of faith that you can announce to yourself and to the Lord every morning when you wake up. Make it the basis for your decisions as you go throughout the day. Ask the Holy Spirit how you can tell people about your faith and joy in the risen Lord.

Commit yourself to sharing the good news with at least one person this week. Then go out and do it!

“Praise to you, Jesus, my risen Savior! ‘You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever’ (Psalm 16:11).”

(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 from Acts, Peter gives a powerful proclamation of the Gospel message in such a way that the listeners are “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Where did Peter, in spite of being an uneducated fisherman, get such a gift? (Hint: Peter gives the answer in Acts 2:33.)  If we believe that we as baptized Catholics have the ability to proclaim the Gospel through the power of the Spirit that dwells in us, what keeps us from sharing it with others?  How can you overcome some of these obstacles?
  2. Notice in the responsorial psalm, how the psalmist keeps his mind and heart fixed on the Lord (“I set the Lord ever before me”) and the fruit of it (”with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed”). What steps can you take to turn to the Lord more often during the day, even in the midst of your busyness?
  3. In the second reading from 1 Peter, we are reminded to “conduct yourself with reverence” because “you were ransomed from your futile conduct  . . . with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Do you believe that reflecting more on what Jesus accomplished by shedding his blood on the cross for you can impact how you live out your day? Why or why not?  Any examples?
  4. The Gospel reading describes the Emmaus Road encounter with Jesus by two of his disciples. Why do you think they did not recognize Jesus until “the breaking of bread” (an early Church term for the Eucharist)?
  5. Are you willing to spend time just prior to the start of Mass reading and reflecting on the Mass readings? If not, why not? Perhaps if you do, like the Emmaus Road disciples, your heart will burn as the Scriptures are read and explained at Mass.
  6. In the meditation, we hear these words: “Take time today to reflect on the concrete ways that the reality of Jesus’ resurrection has changed your life.” These words are followed in the meditation by these questions: “How has it given you hope? Strength? Comfort? Peace?” How would you answer these questions? Are you willing to share your answers with others as the opportunities arise? Why or why not?
  7. Take some time now and pray that you would experience more deeply the transforming power of the resurrection of Jesus. 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.