Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 14:21-27; Psalm 145:8-13; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35)
Loving Others as Jesus Has Loved Us
I give you a new commandment… . As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. (John 13:34)
They say couples who have been married a long time start to look alike. Whether or not it’s true physically, it probably is true that a loving married couple over the years starts to think alike. They share the same desires and goals. They tend to make similar choices. They even complete each others’ sentences!
Well, if this is true of the relationship between a husband and wife, it is most certainly true when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. After all, the Church is the bride of Christ. That means that as his beloved, we should resemble him more and more every day.
But how do we do that? By loving other people as Jesus loves us.
This is a new commandment! We all have heard the greatest commandment telling us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But Jesus took this even further as he spoke to his disciples on the night before he died. He wants us to love as he loves. This is what will set us apart as his people, his bride. This is what will make us start to look like him: loving like him!
If you want to know what Jesus’ love looks like, make a list! Think about various Scripture passages that have touched your heart. Think, too, about your personal experiences of the Lord. Write down words that describe what these felt like. Is his love generous? Forgiving? Compassionate? Is it faithful? Trustworthy? Pure?
Next, thank Jesus for the way he loves you, and ask him to put that same love in your heart. Make it a point to take just one of the descriptions on your list and live it out today. This is what will set you apart as a member of the bride of Christ.
“Jesus, pierce my heart with the love you have for me. Come, Lord, and expand my love so that I can pour it out to others. I want to become your reflection in this world!”
(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 readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for those who were chosen to be leaders in the Church. Are you willing to pray and fast for the leaders of the Church and your parish? What concrete steps can you take to better support your pastor and his work?
- The responsorial psalm sings of the graciousness, mercy, and kindness of God. Share the ways in which you have personally experienced these wonderful graces in your life. What are the ways in which you demonstrate your appreciation to God for his graciousness, mercy, and kindness?
- In the second reading, St. John tells us that the “old order has passed away” and God is making “all things new”. What steps can you take to allow God to replace old patterns of behavior with “new” patterns?
- In the Gospel reading, we are told that “all will know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). What do you think these words mean? Why is “love” the identifying characteristic of what it means to be a Christian? Who are the people in your parish, or at your workplace, to whom you need to show more love?
- In the meditation, we hear these words, “We all have heard the greatest commandment telling us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But Jesus took this even further as he spoke to his disciples on the night before he died. He wants us to love as he loves.” In what way does Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another as he has loved us raise the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” to an even higher level. Why is this commandment impossible to fulfill unless we have first experienced Jesus’ love for us? (1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.”)
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to give you a greater experience of his great love for you, so you can give it away to others. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.