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Reflections for Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

       (Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95:1-2,6-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)

Reaching Out to Others with God’s Mercy, Love, and Compassion

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

What a beautiful image: Jesus himself is with us when we come together in his name, sharing our faith in him! But this is more than just a beautiful image that comforts us. It’s also a profound truth that challenges us. If Jesus is in our midst, what does that say about the way we should treat each other?

Gathering “in Christ’s name” is like coming together for the weekly family meal—only on a much grander scale! It’s a time to share our lives together with Jesus in our midst. And it’s also a time to remember that we are called to love each other, to take up a concern for one another’s well-being.

Remembering this focus on family relationships can help us put into practice Jesus’ teachings about helping a brother or sister who has turned away from the Lord. It will remind us that Jesus wasn’t giving a set of procedural rules on dealing with the lapsed. Rather, he was describing an attitude of heart—a attitude of love and compassion, not of harsh correction or condemnation.

When you find yourself in a situation where you can help someone who has wandered from the Lord, remember that God wants you to see that other person through his eyes. Here is a son or daughter who has been created for intimacy with him. Here is someone who is infinitely loved. Here is someone on whom God wants to pour his grace and mercy.

Let these truths guide the way you relate to that person. Let Jesus’ love, flowing from your heart, touch that person’s life. Let his mercy and compassion help you find the words to speak—or lead you to silent intercession. Let his Spirit give you wisdom!

“Thank you, Father, for calling me into your family. Teach me how to reach out to my loved ones in a way that unites us all in love, reverence, and peace.”

(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, the Lord tells Ezekiel that he has appointed him to be a “watchman” for his people, to warn them of their wickedness. As a Catholic, in what way has the Lord called you to be a watchman to speak out against wickedness in our society? Do you do this? Why or why not? How can you, joined with other Catholics and other Christians, do this together?
  2. The response to the responsorial psalm is, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” How easy it is for us to ignore the many words of Scripture we hear at Mass or in our times of prayer and Scripture reading. What steps can you take to be more alert to the Lord’s words to you through Scripture or his promptings during your day?
  3. In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes that all the commandments can be summed up with one command, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  What do you think Paul meant by these words?. How can you better live these words out in your own life?
  4. The Gospel speaks of holding one another accountable for our actions. How important do you think it is to share your faith and your life with others so you can hold each other accountable? If you are not already in some kind of a small faith sharing group where this occurs, are you willing to start one in your parish? If not, why not?
  5. The meditation challenges us with these words: “When you find yourself in a situation where you can help someone who has wandered from the Lord, remember that God wants you to see that other person through his eyes. Here is a son or daughter who has been created for intimacy with him. Here is someone who is infinitely loved. Here is someone on whom God wants to pour his grace and mercy.Let these truths guide the way you relate to that person. Let Jesus’ love, flowing from your heart, touch that person’s life. Let his mercy and compassion help you find the words to speak—or lead you to silent intercession. Let his Spirit give you wisdom!”  Are their people in your life that you know have “wandered from the Lord”? Are you willing to look for opportunities to let “Jesus’ love, flowing from your heart, touch that person’s life”?  What would be a good first step?
  6. Take some time now to pray for the grace and courage to reach out to others with the love of the Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.


  • noelfitz

    Thank you so much for this article.

    It is thought provoking and raises issues I would like answered.

    I read here:
    “Here is a son or daughter who has been created for intimacy with him. Here is someone who is infinitely loved. Here is someone on whom God wants to pour his grace and mercy.”

    When one see alcoholics, drug addicts or homeless people on the streets, what should we do? Should we give them money or pass by. If we give them money why do we do this?

    I also read here
    “In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes that all the commandments can be summed up with one command, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

    Rom 13:9 has “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    But the same view was expressed by Jesus who in Mk 12:31 and Mt 22:39 recommends love of neighbor. The same commandment is in as Lev 19:18
    “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD”.

    Once again many thanks for these reflections.