Reflections for Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30)

Seeing Ourselves as Jesus Sees Us

“The word of God is … sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12)

What a vivid image! God’s word is razor sharp, able to cut through our innermost thoughts. It can expose the inner motives and desires of our hearts. Most of us would cringe at the thought of such a weapon. So it’s good to know that this isn’t the whole picture.

If we want a fuller picture, we need to look at today’s Gospel reading. A wealthy man asks Jesus how he can gain eternal life. Jesus recounts the commandments, and the man is sure he has kept them. What is he still missing? This is when Mark gives us a vital detail: Jesus looked at him, “loved him,” and told him to give his money to the poor and then come follow him (Mark 10:21).

It’s this look of love that cut through the man’s confusion and exposed his real self. Jesus saw his sincerity, but also saw the “one thing” that stood in his way: he was too attached to his wealth (Mark 10:21). Jesus’ “look” wasn’t one of harsh scrutiny. It was an inviting look. It was a warm and compas­sionate look that saw the man’s strengths and weaknesses and offered him the grace to become the disciple he wanted to be.

It’s unfortunate that the rich man “went away sad” (Mark 10:22). But you don’t have to fol­low his footsteps! Every day, Jesus, the living Word of God, looks on you with the same penetrating gaze. He sees everything in you—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and he loves you intensely.

So take a moment now to let Jesus search you. As you do, you’ll discover that he sees so much goodness in your heart—goodness that you take for granted or didn’t even know was there. Of course he sees areas that need to change. But he is so happy with everything else that he is more than eager to help you make those changes.

“Lord Jesus, nothing in me is hidden from you. Thank you for looking on me with such love!”

(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, October 14, 2012

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. The first reading prays for prudence and wisdom. Prudence is not fear, or timidity. It is the ability to direct our conduct in accordance with our judgment – to know what is really good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. Why do you find that there are times when your actions are not aligned with what you know to be correct? Discuss what steps you can take to improve coordination between your judgment and your actions?
  2. Wisdom, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, enables us to know God and His will for us. The author of the Book of Wisdom says that it is more valuable then a throne, riches, gold, silver, health, and comeliness. Why would he make such a drastic claim? What area(s) of your life do you need prayers for an increase in the gift of wisdom. If you are in a small group, ask the other members to pray for you.
  3. In the responsorial Psalm, we hear these words, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we gain wisdom of heart” (Psalm 90:12). Why do you think numbering our days aright is tied to wisdom? We also hear the psalmist ask to be filled with the Lord’s kindness so that “we may shout for joy and gladness all our days” (90:14). What can you do to open yourself more to the Lord’s kindness so you can express your thankfulness with greater joy?
  4. The second reading tells us that God’s word is “living and effective,” and so finely tuned an instrument it can discern the very thoughts of our heart. How do you use God’s word, the Scripture, to help form your thoughts and direct your actions? How can you go even deeper in studying and applying Scripture to your daily life?
  5. In the Gospel, Jesus’ admonition against riches also applies to all of those things in our lives that have a hold on us and distract us from loving and serving God. What can you do to lessen the hold “things” have over you and increase the hold God has over you? Jesus also went on to say that whatever we give up for him and the Gospel, he would give even more back to us (a hundred fold!!). Why do we often struggle to believe this? Discuss some ways your possessions (your time, your talent, and your treasure) can be better used to serve God, his Church, and others.
  6. In the meditation, we hear these words, “Every day, Jesus, the living Word of God, looks on you with the same penetrating gaze. He sees everything in you—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and he loves you intensely.” Do you believe this? The title for this meditation is “Seeing Ourselves as Jesus Sees Us.” How would you describe how Jesus sees you? In light of this, what can you do to deepen your relationship with Jesus?
  7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to give you a heart open to seeing Jesus’ loving gaze upon you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

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 (http://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  mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.