Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Psalm 116:10,15-19; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10)
Knowing and Living the Gospel Message that God is for Us
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
With these ten words, Paul begins to summarize the points he has been making so far in his Letter to the Romans. In fact, all of chapter 8 can be seen as a summary—a rousing, inspiring conclusion to the explanation of the gospel message Paul wrote about in chapters 1 through 7. So let’s take a look at some of these summary points.
First, Paul says that we are no less than beloved, adopted children of God. Just as Jesus taught us to call God “Our Father,” so Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is constantly at work to convince us that we belong to God. He is always trying to show us that God is “for us” just as much as a father is “for” his own children (Romans 8:15-16,31).
Second, Paul talks about how the Holy Spirit “comes to the aid of our weakness” (Romans 8:26). Life will have its times of struggle, temptation, and suffering. But Paul wants us to be assured that even in our lowest moments, God is still for us. He is still with us, offering us his strength, his guidance, and his consolation.
Finally, Paul tells us that God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to save us (Romans 8:32). This is the clearest proof that God is for us. It is the clearest evidence of how deeply God values us and how dearly he wants us to be by his side. He gave us none other than Jesus himself to be our Redeemer, our Savior, and our closest Friend.
Now, it’s not always easy to trust in these words—especially when things aren’t going very well. But that doesn’t really matter. For even if we don’t believe that God is for us, it is still true. He is faithful. He is always standing by our side, ready to give us his strength and comfort.
Yes, your heavenly Father is on your side. He is for you. So rejoice today in this awesome truth!
“Father, you are my hope, my joy, and my strength! I will believe in you today!”
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In last Sunday’s Mass readings, God formed a covenant with Noah. In this Sunday’s readings, he makes one with Abraham: “I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars . . .all this because you have obeyed my command.” In what areas of your life is God asking you to obey him more (and resist him less)?
- In the responsorial Psalm, we pray: “I believed even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted.'” This was the same faith Abraham displayed in the first reading. In your times of “afflictions,” what keeps you from turning confidently to the Lord and believing he can loose your bonds? Share some examples of when you did turn confidently to the Lord, and how he set you free.
- In the second reading from Romans, how would you describe what St. Paul believes is the Christian’s first and final answer in times of difficulty, despair, suffering, and fear. How do you apply Paul’s answer to your own life? How can you apply Paul’s answer to areas where you struggle to believe it and act on it?
- In the story of the Transfiguration in the Gospel reading, Jesus shows forth his divine glory, foreshadowing his Resurrection. In response to the “terrified” reply of Peter, the reassuring voice of the Father is heard saying: “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” How can we take these words of the Father, which are also meant for us, more seriously during Lent?
- The meditation states that in Romans, “all of chapter 8 can be seen as a summary—a rousing, inspiring conclusion to the explanation of the gospel message Paul wrote about in chapters 1 through 7.” The meditation also summarizes three of these points. How would you summarize the Gospel message described in chapter 8 of Romans?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to allow the reality of the Gospel message that “God is for us” to affect more deeply how you live out your Christian lives as Catholics. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.
(The discussion questions were created by Maurice Blumberg, the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/), a Ministry of The Word Among Us(www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. Maurice can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.)