Reflections for Sunday, August 21, 2011


Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

    (Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 138:1-3,6,8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)

Opening Your Heart and Mind to God’s Gift of Revelation

Oh, the depth! (Romans 11:33) 

Some remarkable humans have demonstrated the ability to free-dive to the depth of almost one hundred meters underwater—with no oxygen tank, fins, or weights. It’s an astounding feat. But that depth only scratches the surface of the deepest part of the ocean—the Challenger Deep in the Western Pacific, which is nearly eleven thousand meters. The human body is no match for the immense pressures found there!

In today’s second reading, Paul reflects on the extraordinary depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Just as an unaided diver can’t get to the Challenger Deep, neither can the unaided human heart grasp the “unsearchable” depths of God.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Romans 11:34). Curiously, Paul quotes the very same verse from Isaiah in his First Letter to the Corinthians. Only there, he adds: “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Amazing: We can explore the thoughts of the eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty Creator!

Today’s Gospel illustrates this point when Peter calls Jesus the Messiah. Immediately, Jesus praises him—but not for his powers of deduction. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Matthew 16:17). Jesus knew that Peter had to have received this gift from God. 

That’s the key word: receive. Revelation is a gift. It isn’t something we can produce on our own. It’s a gift that God wants us to receive with open hearts and quiet minds. It’s God’s words coming alive in our hearts and filling us with his wisdom, his insights, and his peace.

Today at Mass, try to focus your heart on Jesus. Quiet your mind and tell Jesus that you want to receive whatever he wants to give you. Put your worries and cares aside and simply listen. You’ll know that what you heard is from God when your own heart starts echoing Paul’s prayer: To God be glory forever!

“Glory to you, Father, for the mysteries of your plan! Show me the depths of your love.”

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us ( for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. In the first reading from Isaiah, the Lord tells us that Eliakim “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah,” and the Lord will “fix him as a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.” Whether you are a father or not, what can you do to bring greater honor to your family? If you are a father, how would you need to change to be the kind of father to your family that is described in the first reading?
  2. When the responsorial psalm asks the Lord not to forsake the work of his hands, it suggests we are a “work in progress.” What specifically can you do to make yourself more available to the Lord for some additional tweaking?
  3. In the second reading, St. Paulis almost bowled over just thinking of God’s greatness. Does reflecting on God’s greatness make him more or less approachable to you? Take some time in the upcoming weeks to reflect on God’s greatness and ask him to draw you closer to him?
  4. In the Gospel today, Jesus assures Peter and the Apostles that Satan will never prevail against the Church, no matter what happens. This same confidence should inspire you as well, since you are a member of his Church. What steps can you take to increase your confidence in this reality, both in the Church and in your own life?
  5. How would you respond to Jesus’ question: “But who do you say that I am?” In particular, what role does Jesus have in your life?
  6. The meditation challenges us with these words: “Revelation is a gift. It isn’t something we can produce on our own. It’s a gift that God wants us to receive with open hearts and quiet minds. It’s God’s words coming alive in our hearts and filling us with his wisdom, his insights, and his peace.” What are some revelations you have received from God during prayer and Scripture reading, or at Mass? In what ways has God revealed to you his “inscrutable” plan of salvation and the “depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God”? What steps can you take to open your heart and mind even more to God’s revelation? 
  7. Take some time now to pray that the Lord would open your heart and mind more deeply to his revelation as you pray, read Scripture, and attend Mass — and also during the course of your day. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

About Author

Maurice Blumberg is a Jewish convert to the Catholicism, and the father of five children. He is currently the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, a ministry of The Word Among Us 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 and was Chairman of the Board of The Word Among Us, a Catholic devotional magazine.