Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 2:14, 36-41; Psalm 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)
Being Cut to the Heart by the Good News of Jesus Christ
They were cut to the heart. (Acts 2:37)
What a vivid image! But this is not the only place in Scripture where we see this happening. The Letter to the Hebrews says that the word of God is a “two-edged sword” that slices between “soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). On the road to Emmaus, the disciples’ hearts burned as they heard Jesus explain the Scriptures (Luke 24:32).
Peter, the man who just fifty days ago had denied knowing Jesus, was now speaking boldly about him and what he accomplished for us on the cross. Through his preaching, he presented the people with a picture of Jesus that cut many of them to the heart and brought them to conversion.
Today, let’s try to put ourselves in the place of the people listening to Peter. Let’s fix our attention on Jesus and ask him to cut us to the heart.
Think about what it was like for Jesus before he became a man. Imagine him in the glory of heaven, surrounded by the praise of the angels. Think about what it must be like to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—with no needs or limitations at all.
Now, in the midst of this glorious life, the Son of God freely chose to come among us. Imagine the sacrifice he made to take on human flesh. He would experience hunger, weariness, fear, loneliness, and temptation. He whom the angels adored allowed himself to be insulted, threatened, hated, and nailed to a cross. Imagine the love that moved him to do this for us. This love is the message that cut the people to the heart and moved them to ask, “What are we to do?” (Acts 2:37).
As we come to know the depth, breadth, and width of Jesus’ love, we’ll find ourselves asking the same question. “What can I do but give my heart to Jesus and follow him wherever he leads?”
“Come, Lord, and cut me to the heart. I want to know the joy and freedom of following you!”
(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.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- In the first reading from Acts, Peter encourages the people to “Repent and be baptized” so that they will experience “forgiveness” and “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We as baptized Christian have also received “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” How would you describe what you have done with this gift you’ve received? In what way has it made a difference in the way you live out your life each day as a Christian? What steps can you take to allow the Holy Spirit to take a more active role in guiding and leading you?
- The responsorial psalm, Psalm 23, reminds us of the first words spoken by John Paul II after his election as Pope: “Do not be afraid.” Even though we know that the “Lord is my Shepherd,” what are the fears that can keep you from being the Catholic Christian you are called to be?
- In the second reading, St. Peter describes Christ’s response (“he committed no sin”) to the unjust insults and sufferings he received. What is your typical response to insults and suffering, especially when you think they are unjust? Do you think it is possible to respond in the way Jesus did? Why or why not? How do you think God wants you to respond?
- The Gospel speaks of hearing the voice of our shepherd. In what ways does the Lord “speak” to you in prayer? How do you recognize his voice? What practical steps can you take to try to become more open to hearing the Lord’s voice during your times of prayer?
- The Gospel also gives us an unambiguous description of Satan’s role. In contrast to the role of the Good Shepherd (or Psalm 23), Satan comes “only to steal and slaughter and destroy.” How does Satan, “the father of lies and the accuser of the brethren,” use this role to destroy relationships? How might you counter him?
- The meditation ends with these words: “As we come to know the depth, breadth, and width of Jesus’ love, we’ll find ourselves asking the same question. ‘What can I do but give my heart to Jesus and follow him wherever he leads?’” How would you answer this question?
- Take some time now and pray that you too would be “cut to the heart” by the “depth, breadth, and width of Jesus love.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.