Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 8:5-8,14-17; Psalm 66:1-7,16,20; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21)
Setting Jesus Apart as Your Lord and Savior
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. (1 Peter 3:15)
Wait — how can we sanctify Christ? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t he supposed to sanctify us —make us holy?
Think about when you wake up in the morning. You’re lying in bed and you gradually become aware of the new day with its to-do list, opportunities, and problems. This time is the perfect opportunity to set yourself apart as one who belongs to Christ. This is what it means to sanctify him. You are making him holy in your heart, setting him apart as your Lord and Savior.
Think of the way husbands and wives kiss each other good-bye as they walk out the door in the morning. It may be routine, but there is more behind that kiss than meets the eye. It’s an expression of the love and devotion that have grown between them over the years. In a way, it signifies a renewal of their marriage vows, their promise to love and honor and cherish each other for as long as they live. With that one little kiss, the husband says that he belongs only to his wife, and the wife says the same thing to her husband. It’s their way of telling each other: “I’m yours.”
That’s what we are saying to Jesus when we sanctify him in our hearts. We are confessing that our lives are no longer our own, because we belong to him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are telling him that we intend to love him through our words and actions that day — for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. In a sense, we are renewing our covenant with him!
So sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, and watch to see how differently your day goes. Perhaps you will feel more peaceful. Maybe you’ll be more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’ll be more careful when it comes to fighting temptation. Why? Because when you give your life to Jesus in this way, he takes it!
“Lord, I give you my life. I’m yours.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, we hear that the listeners “paid attention” when the word of God was proclaimed. How expectant or attentive are you when Scripture is read or when the homily is delivered at Mass? What steps can you take to be more attentive? Experiment with these steps and see what happens.
- “Joy” appears in both the first reading and the responsorial psalm. How do these readings describe the basis for this joy? What is the basis for your joy as you live out each day?
- Someone once described joy as the echo of God’s life in us. What steps can you take to make God’s life “echo” more deeply in you?
- In the second reading, Peter encourages us to “always be ready” to share with others our faith. How ready are you? What are the obstacles that hold you back from sharing your faith with others? What would it take to get you ready?
- What an incredible promise in the Gospel reading: “I will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16,17) – that is, the Holy Spirit, God himself dwelling and remaining within each one of us! How much do you reverence God’s very presence within you through the indwelling Spirit? What can you do to turn to the Lord and the Holy Spirit more frequently during the day?
- What is your understanding of the Scripture: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15)? The meditation tells us to do this each day and then “watch to see how differently your day goes.” Are you willing to try this? If so, share the fruit of it with a brother or sister in Christ.
(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.)