Reflections for Sunday, October 21, 2012
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45)
Walking Through God’s Open Door of Faith
“We have a great high priest.” (Hebrews 4:14)
During this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI is inviting all of us to pass through the “door of faith” each and every day. The key question we face is this: With all that I have to do each day, why should I carve out time to do this? Will I find anything special on the other side of this door?
Today’s second reading offers us an answer: “We have a great high priest” whom we can “confidently approach” to receive all the grace we need to live in this world (Hebrews 4:14, 16). We won’t be disappointed if we pass through this door!
So what’s the basis for our confidence? It’s that Jesus wants to lift us up. He wants to pour his heart into us as we pour out our hearts to him in prayer. We don’t even have to drum up the confidence to come to him; he will give it to us as a gift of his grace. He will convince us that he is with us every step of the way.
Jesus is our great high priest. He has been tested as we are tested, so he knows what we go through in our lives. He feels all our joys and triumphs, and he shares in our times of pain and doubt. He is with us even when we think we are all alone, pouring his grace on us even when we think the well has run dry.
This reading also tells us that Jesus sits on a “throne of grace,” not condemnation (Hebrews 4:16). He is not one to dole out harsh punishments or make impossible demands. Rather, he offers love and mercy at every turn. He is moved by our weaknesses, and he will never abandon us!
So why should we take the time out of our busy days to walk through this door of faith? Because the person who is on the other side of the door loves us more than anyone else in the whole world.
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading today, we see an Old Testament prophecy of what our Savior Jesus, out of his great love for us, had to suffer on the cross — to take away our sins and bring us to eternal life with him. What impact on your life has the knowledge that God loves you so much that he was willing to allow his Son to suffer and die on the cross for your salvation? What are some of the ways you have personally experienced God’s great love for you?
- The Responsorial Psalm speaks of putting our trust and our hope in the Lord, and waiting on him. It ends with these words: “May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Are there any areas of your life where you struggle to trust the Lord? What steps can you take to increase your trust and hope in the Lord?.
- In the second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that we can approach the “throne of grace” confidently to receive “mercy and find grace for timely help” (Hebrews 4:16). What does this Scripture mean to you? What can hold you back from taking this promise of God to heart, especially when you need “timely help”?
- The Letter to the Hebrews also says that, like us, Christ has “similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). When it comes to our sins, it is easy to be either overly scrupulous or to take them too lightly. What is your attitude towards the sin in your life?
- In the Gospel, Jesus tells the apostles, who were vying for positions of honor, what following him would entail: “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” He was calling them — and us — to be “servant leaders.” What do you think this term means? In what ways was Jesus a servant leader? In what ways do you relate to your family and to others as a servant leader? In what ways do you not?
- The meditation tells us that God’s “throne of grace” is an open door of faith for us. It then challenges us with this question: “So why should we take the time out of our busy days to walk through this door of faith?” How would you answer this question?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to increase your faith and hope in him. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.