Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Psalm 30:2,4-6,11-13; 2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15; Mark 5:21-43)
Prayer, A Time for a Personal Encounter with the Lord
“He looked around to see who had done it.” (Mark 5:32)
Sometimes our prayer life can feel a little like a gumball dispenser. We put a quarter in the slot, turn the handle, and expect a gumball to drop out. If we say our prayers, attend church, or do good works, we may think we automatically receive God’s grace. We put in the time, and God dispenses his grace.
But God wants so much more for us! He wants prayer to be a time when we have a personal encounter with him. Look at today’s story of the hemorrhaging woman. It wasn’t enough that she pushed through the crowds and touched Jesus. He wanted to touch her! He wanted to look into her eyes, listen to her story, and assure her personally that it really was her faith and trust in him that saved her.
In a sense, Jesus was just as persistent as this woman was. It didn’t matter that he was on his way to heal someone’s daughter. He still took the time to reach out to this lonely, desperate woman because she mattered to him just as much as the important, influential Jairus did.
God wants personal contact with us. It’s not enough for him to dispense healing and grace mechanically, as if from afar. He wants to see us, to touch us, and to assure us of his love. We don’t have to lower our expectations or reduce the Christian life to a matter of formulas and contracts. We were made for communion with God—and Jesus longs for communion with us!
So when you pray today, put aside your to-do list and reach out for Jesus. Push through whatever objections may rise up, and grab hold of his robe. Then don’t be surprised to find Jesus turning and looking at you with love. Don’t be surprised when he speaks words of healing, encouragement, and direction. He loves spending time with you!
“Jesus, I believe that even now, you are looking for me, waiting for the opportunity to speak to me and touch my heart. Here I am, Lord!”
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- What is your understanding of these words from the first reading? “For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.”
- The Responsorial Psalm speaks of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. In what way does the psalm show how God has responded to the words above from the first reading? Share some examples from your own life of how the Lord, “did not let my enemies rejoice over me,” “preserved me,” had “pity on me,” and showed me his “good will.”
- The second reading speaks of sharing our “abundance” from the Lord with others. What part does the “social justice” teachings of the church play in you life, especially those on caring for the poor and needy? What more could you do to make them a greater reality in your life?
- In the Gospel, the synagogue leader, Jairus, and the women afflicted with hemorrhages approach Jesus with great faith. What role do you think their expectant faith played in the healings that occurred?
- In his book, “The Practice of Healing Prayer,” Francis MacNutt says that praying with expectant faith means trusting in God’s love, goodness and mercy when we pray. What are the situations in your life that sometimes make it difficult to pray to Jesus with expectant faith? Share any fruits of prayers prayed with expectant faith.
- In the meditation, we hear these astounding words: “God wants so much more for us. He wants prayer to be a time of personal encounter with him. . . . We were made for communion with God.” The meditation then ends with these words about our Lord: “He loves spending time with you.” In light of these words, what steps can you take to make this a greater reality in your own times of prayer?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to know and experience the Lord’s presence more deeply when you pray. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.