Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 45:1,4-6; Psalm 96:1,3-5,7-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21)
Reflecting the Lord’s Light in You to Others
Whose image is this and whose inscription? (Matthew 22:20).
Let’s talk about coins. Have you ever held a coin that was so dirty you could hardly tell what it was? Maybe it was a penny that had so much buildup on it that it looked nearly black. It was still a penny. It still bore the image of Abraham Lincoln and the year of its minting. It was just hard to see it. And it might be so obscured that some merchants may be reluctant to accept it as legal tender.
Did you know that with just a little bit of vinegar and salt you can make a dirty penny shine like new? It may look like magic, but it’s just a chemical reaction rearranging atoms and dissolving impurities. And once it is cleaned up, it can be used again in commerce.
What can you do when the image of God, engraved on your soul, is covered over? What will make you shine like new? The Sacrament of Reconciliation! God sees through our impurities. He knows who we are, and he loves us. That’s why he has given us this sacrament: so that we can show more clearly who we really are!
But a penny was made to do more than just shine. It may be a small part of our economy, but it has an important role to play. Just so for us. We are all created in God’s image and likeness, but we are meant to do more than just glow with heavenly goodness. You may feel as small as a penny at times, but you should never sell yourself short. In the day-to-day interchange of ideas, relationships, and feelings, you have a vital role to play. You can give a living witness to the joy and promise of a life lived under Jesus’ authority. Yes, you may need to be cleaned up, but don’t stop there. Now that you shine, go out and reflect the light that has filled your soul!
“Lord, I want to render to you what is yours – my entire self! Cleanse me and help me to radiate your life to everyone around me!”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- The first reading today describes how God uses (anoints) the pagan King Cyrus as a vehicle for caring for his people. Do we see ourselves, God’s people, as the only ones he blesses and uses? Are we open to seeing that God can use anyone with a heart open to him to further his purposes?
- In the responsorial psalm, each of us is called to tell of God’s “glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.” What can you do to tell others of God’s love?
- St. Paultells the Thessalonians that they are constantly in his thoughts and prayers. How often to you pray for others, particularly those who labor in faith, hope, and love for God’s kingdom? What steps can you take to increase your prayers for your pastor and other priests? What are some additional ways you can practically assist your pastor and parish?
- In the Gospel reading, the Herodians tried to test Jesus. In what ways do you test God with your words: “if God really cared for me then …”; “if God will do this for me then…”? Are there times when you try to manipulate God for you own purposes? Did it work? What can you do to make your relationship with God more one of faith and trust then of trying to get God to do what you want him to do?
- The meditation ends with these words: “In the day-to-day interchange of ideas, relationships, and feelings, you have a vital role to play. You can give a living witness to the joy and promise of a life lived under Jesus’ authority. Yes, you may need to be cleaned up, but don’t stop there. Now that you shine, go out and reflect the light that has filled your soul!” We all struggle at times to let the Lord’s light shine through us. What are some of the obstacles that keep the Lord’s light in you from shining to others? What steps can you take to overcome these obstacles?
- Reflect on these words from John 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Then take some time now to pray for the grace to be let your light shine before others so that “they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.