Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63:2-6,8-9; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27)
Allowing Our Minds to be Renewed by the Holy Spirit
“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:23)
Can you imagine being in Peter’s position? Jesus just called you the rock on which he would build his church, and then, seconds later, he is chastising you and calling you “Satan.” What happened?
What we are seeing here is the real-time working of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus’ teaching, Peter was laying new foundations for the way he would think and act—but those foundations took time to build. And today’s reading shows him at a point when he grasped that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but not that this Messiah was destined to be a suffering servant.
How hard it must have been for Peter to hear Jesus speak so abruptly! But ultimately, how freeing it proved to be! Peter didn’t have to remain thinking only as an ordinary human being, with just a few flashes of revelation here and there. This encounter showed him that he could learn how to think with God all the time. It showed that he could always ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom—and that the Spirit would answer him.
Ultimately, Peter was able to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and lead the Church because he let his mind be renewed. He learned how to hear God’s voice and receive direction from God, and that enabled him to remain strong and peaceful in times of tribulation. He wasn’t doing it all on his own; he had divine help to guide him and reassure him every step of the way.
Peter is a wonderful example of what the Holy Spirit can do when we let Him work in us. Sometimes it is hard to submit our thoughts and attitudes to the Lord, but the rewards are well worth the effort. After all, what could be better than being transformed into a beloved—and loving—servant of Christ!
“Holy Spirit, come and renew my way of thinking. I want to become a vessel of your grace and power, and I know I cannot do this on my own. Spirit, make your thoughts my thoughts and your desire5s my desires!”
(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
- In the first reading, Jeremiah is so in tune with the Lord that he cannot hold back from speaking of him to others. Could that be said of your faith? What are the obstacles that keep you from talking to someone about your faith in Christ? Take some time now to pray that you would be able to overcome them.
- The responsorial psalm talks of the soul “thirsting” for God. Do you feel your soul is thirsty for the Lord? Why or why not? What can you do this week to water your soul even more?
- The letter to the Romans asks us not to be conformed to the world. What has the biggest influence on your mind: television, newspapers, and what others think – or is it the Scriptures and prayer? What specifically can you do to reduce the influence of the first three and increase the influence of Scriptures and prayer.
- In the Gospel, Jesus had to rebuke Peter because Peter wanted to tell Christ what he needed to do. How can you increase your receptivity to Christ’s leading, rather than telling him what he needs to do for you.
- Jesus also spoke of the need to deny ourselves and take up our cross? What cross is the Lord asking you to bear? If you are in a men’s group, how can the men in your group help you in bearing this cross?
- The meditation speaks of the Peter’s ongoing transformation, and the renewal of his mind, which enabled him to lead the early church. It also challenges us with these words: “Peter is a wonderful example of what the Holy Spirit can do when we let him work in us. Sometimes it is hard to submit our thoughts and attitudes to the Lord, but the rewards are well worth the effort. After all, what could be better than being transformed into a beloved—and loving—servant of Christ!” How well do you do at submitting your thoughts and attitudes to the Lord? What are some of the obstacles that keep you from dong this? What steps cn you take to overcome them?
- Take some time now and pray for a renewal of your mind and your way of thinking, especially in difficult situations or times of crisis. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.