Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Nehemiah 8:2-6,8-10; Psalm 19:8-10,15; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
Receiving the Anointing of the Spirit
Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21)
Returning to his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus was invited to speak in the synagogue. His reputation as a wonder worker and powerful preacher had preceded him, and the people hung on his every word. This was not the first time that they had heard this passage—it was part of their regular cycle of Scripture readings. But this time it was different. Jesus spoke with unmistakable authority, and their hearts were stirred.
What made the difference? The Spirit of anointing rested on Jesus just as he had filled the prophet who first spoke these words. The words came alive as Jesus declared, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives.” You can just imagine some of the people seeing themselves in those words for the first time—and sensing that their own deliverance was at hand!
How can we have this same experience? What will make the Scriptures leap off the page for us? The Spirit of anointing! When you read the Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to help you. Ask him to open your eyes to his truths in a deeper, more personal way. Read the passage carefully, and make sure you understand what it is saying. Use a commentary or a good study Bible, but don’t stop there.
Prayerfully ponder what you have read. Let the words echo in your mind and heart. If a particular verse or even a word strikes you, stay with it and see what happens. Give it time, and don’t worry about the rest of the passage. Maybe the Lord wants to say something to you personally right then and there.
Finally, make sure you write down whatever sense you receive as you ponder the word of God. Keep a prayer journal so that you can review it every now and then to see how much the Lord is doing in your life. He wants to talk with you! He wants you to learn how to hear his voice!
“Lord, open my eyes to your wonders in the Scriptures.”
(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, January 27, 2013
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, we hear how the word of God so touched the hearts and moved those who “listened attentively.” What is the attitude of your heart when you read Scriptures? What is the attitude of your heart when the word of God is read at Mass? What steps can you take to hear God speaking to you more clearly through the Scriptures and be moved by them?
- The responsorial psalm also speaks of the effect the word of God has on those who “listen”: i.e., life, refreshment, wisdom, joy, enlightenment, etc. How often during the week do you turn to the Scriptures for your strength? What are some ways God has touched you through your commitment to regularly reading his word? If you don’t already do it, are you willing to commit to a daily time of Scripture reading? If not, why not? It could be something as simple as reading and meditating on the daily Mass readings.
- In the second reading, St. Paul continues the theme he began in last Sunday’s reading: we are all members of one body, and each of us has an important part to play in building the Church. He tells us that there should be no division in the body. What steps can you take to heal any divisions that may exist in your family or your parish? What steps can you take to bring more unity to your family or parish?
- St. Paul also says that we must be concerned for one another….that when one of us suffers, all of us suffer. What are the opportunities in your parish or community that you can respond to in order to reach out to those who are suffering or have great needs?
- In the Gospel, Christ tells us that he brings us “glad tidings”, “liberty”, “recovery of sight”, and freedom. Pope John Paul II said, “Sometimes even Catholics have lost or never had a chance to experience Christ personally”. What specifically can you do this week to get to know Christ better, not “as a mere paradigm or value” (John Paul II), but as your living Lord, as your way, your truth, your life? Also, take some time to pray and consecrate your life and the members of your family to Jesus Christ, asking that each would “experience Christ personally.”
- In the meditation ends, we hear these words, “What will make the Scriptures leap off the page for us? The Spirit of anointing! When you read the Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to help you. Ask him to open your eyes to his truths in a deeper, more personal way.” Are you willing to experiment with these suggestions whenever you read the Scriptures? What do you think will happen as you do it?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for a fresh anointing of his Spirit so that reading the Scriptures will have a greater impact on your life and will deepen your faith and trust in the Lord. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.