Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
Being Open to the Promptings of the Holy Spirit
His heart was moved.” (Mark 6:34)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus was encouraged because the apostles had just returned from a very successful missionary trip. They had healed some people, delivered others from demons, and brought many to conversion. And yet, Jesus was discouraged as well. John, his friend and kinsman, had just been beheaded.
With this good and bad news on his mind, Jesus took a practical approach and invited the apostles— and himself—to get away for a time of rest (Mark 6:31). But a crowd of people followed, and Jesus changed his plans and began to teach the people. In a sense, you could say that the “practical” Jesus was replaced by the “compassionate” Jesus. He was able to see beyond his needs and the needs of his disciples because of his union with the Holy Spirit.
It wasn’t just Jesus whose eyes were open in this way. The apostles gave up their plans for rest as well. Then, after what could have been hours of teaching, Jesus told them to give the people something to eat (Mark 6:37).
Jesus wants us to be practical. He wants us to be ordered. He wants us to set goals and achieve them. But there are also times when he wants us to put our plans aside for the greater good. We can learn how to sense these movements from God so that the practical does not overshadow the compassionate and spontaneous. You may sense a prompting to speak to someone after Mass or in the grocery store. You may sense simply that God wants you to put your arms around your husband or child or that you should put aside what you are doing and read Scripture for a few minutes. Whenever something like this happens, try to act on it. You never know where it will lead you.
“Jesus, teach me to be open to your Spirit’s promptings. I don’t want to be so regulated that I can’t hear your voice or follow your leadings. Lord, I want to be flexible and open!”
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading Jeremiah describes a time when God’s people will “need no longer fear and tremble,” but “be saved” and “dwell in security” because “a righteous shoot to David as king” is coming who will “reign and govern wisely.” In what way were these prophetic words fulfilled by Jesus Christ? How does your relationship with Christ, and your experience of his love, provide you with peace and security each day?
- In the Responsorial Psalm, the well-known “Shepherd Psalm,” the Lord’s presence and guidance is described as providing repose, refreshment, courage, anointing, goodness, kindness, etc. In what ways are these closely aligned with the fruits of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23? What are some examples of how you have experienced these fruits in your workplace, your families, and your parish?
- In the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul describes how we have all been reconciled, made one in Christ, because he “broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh” (Ephesians 2:14). In what ways may God be calling you to break down “dividing wall of enmity” that still exist between you and others (in your workplace, your families, your parish)?
- Also, in the letter to the Ephesians, we are told that we “have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). Do you believe that the Holy Spirit, received through Baptism and faith, gives you access to God the Father? If this Scriptural truth is a struggle for you, what steps can you take to overcome any obstacles and experience more fully the grace of the Father’s presence in your life?
- In Mark’s Gospel, we see that Jesus’ attention was not only focused on the crowds who were hastening to pursue Him, but also on the apostles who had been busy in his name and needed a little time to rest. In what ways do you allow the busyness of your life to prevent you from “resting” in Christ’s presence through prayer? What small steps can you take to allow for additional times of “rest” in Christ’s presence (for example, before or after Mass, in visits to the Blessed Sacrament, each morning in prayer, etc.)?
- In the meditation, we are challenged with these words: “Jesus wants us to be practical. He wants us to be ordered. He wants us to set goals and achieve them. But there are also times when he wants us to put our plans aside for the greater good. We can learn how to sense these movements from God so that the practical does not overshadow the compassionate and spontaneous.” How well do you sense the “promptings” of the Holy Spirit in leading you during the day? What steps can you take to open yourself more to the Spirit’s promptings?
- Take some time now to pray for a greater openness to the Spirit’s prompting, and for the grace to say yes to where the Lord wants to lead you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.