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)
God’s “Inscrutable” and “Unsearchable” Plan to Establish His Church
Upon this rock I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18)
For years, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was an object of international acclaim, a celebrity of sorts whom people wanted to meet. Yet not everyone who sought her out embraced her words about serving Jesus or finding God in the poorest of the poor. In a sense, Mother Teresa made people feel good. Here was a person freely serving the poor without wanting anything in return. How upbeat is that!
In a similar way, Jesus had become a minor celebrity in his own time. Many people knew of him, but not many grasped who he was or the nature of his mission. But that changed somewhat when Simon Peter announced that Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God. Up to that point, Jesus had revealed himself through miracles and sermons. Now it was time to move to the next level—at least with his disciples. It was time to begin showing them what kind of Messiah he was, that he was out to do more than heal and forgive. He had come to establish a Church, not just pardon people’s sins—and the disciples were destined to become that Church’s pillars!
Establishing the Church was the most important thing Jesus came to do. What good would it have been if he had stopped at redeeming us from sin? We would still have needed his ongoing grace to grow closer to him and help change the world. And that’s exactly what the Church is for. As we are taught by his word and nourished by his Body and Blood, we can keep moving forward, becoming the holy people he longs for us to be.
How do you see Jesus? As your personal Friend and Savior? Or as the Lord of a new creation? Yes, he came to rescue you from sin. But he also came to give you a new home!
“Jesus, thank you for making us into your people, your Church. Teach us to love each other and to lay down our lives for each other—just as you did.”
(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 Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- 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 are some things you can do to bring greater honor to your family, friends, parishioners, and co-workers — or to those in need?
- When the responsorial psalm asks the Lord not to forsake the work of his hands, it suggests we are a “work in progress.” How would you describe the areas of your life that may need some additional “tweaking” by the Lord? What specifically can you do to make yourself more available to the Lord for this tweaking?
- In the second reading, St. Paul is almost bowled over just thinking of God’s greatness: “How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways.” Does reflecting on “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” make him more or less approachable to you? Why? How could you change your prayer time to include 1) focusing more on God’s greatness and 2) asking him to draw you closer to him?
- In the Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples the following question: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” How would you answer this question? Do you believe your answer also comes from revelation by your “heavenly Father”?
- Jesus also assures Peter and the Apostles that Satan will never prevail against the Church. 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 in your own life?
- In the meditation, we hear these words: “Establishing the Church was the most important thing Jesus came to do. What good would it have been if he had stopped at redeeming us from sin? We would still have needed his ongoing grace to grow closer to him and help change the world. And that’s exactly what the Church is for.” In what ways has the Church helped you to “grow closer to him and help change the world”?
- Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for establishing his Church. Ask him to show you how he wants to use you to help strengthen the Church, that is, his people. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.