Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 25:4-9; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32)
Living a Life in the Spirit as Jesus’ Disciple
Regard others as more important than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
We live in a world that urges us to think in modules. We have a module for church and prayer. We have a module for work and a module for family. There is a financial module, a justice module, a crisis module, and a recreation module—and so many more!
Most of us can identify when our Mass module is at work. But it can be a little more challenging, shortly after Mass, when something rubs us the wrong way, how we slip into an irritated module or an angry module. Or perhaps we are in family mode when we kiss our kids good-bye after breakfast and head to work. But then we slip into work mode when we become curt, unbending, or demanding at our job.
Contrast this “module model” with today’s second reading. Here Paul calls us to be united and to care for each other all the time, not just when we are in “compassion mode.” And to illustrate his point, he spoke of how Jesus’ whole life was one consistent yes to the Father, and that yes dictated how he would act in every situation.
Clearly, we shouldn’t let all of the modules in our lives control us. Taking our cue from Jesus, we should let one module control all of the others: the “life in the Spirit” module. Jesus was exalted at the right hand of God because he followed his Father in all things. Likewise, we will be exalted when we obey God’s commands and try our best to live in love.
So when the recreation module begins to draw you away from the Lord, stop and regroup. When the work module causes you to become agitated and upset, stop and make an adjustment. Let Jesus and his love become your overriding module, and you’ll find yourself living a more peaceful life.
“Lord, help me to think and act like you. Teach me how to be your disciple.”
(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 Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading today, God cautions us against accusing him of being unfair, without first examining our own lives. How often do you do an examination of conscience and repent of (and turn away from) your sins? Are there times in your life when you are prone to blame God for your difficulties, rather than your own behavior? What can you do to be more accountable for the consequences of your decisions?
- In the responsorial psalm, we ask God to “guide” and “teach” us. How often do you turn to God during the day to ask for guidance? What steps can you take to be more alert to and open to God’s presence, guidance, and teaching during the day?
- In the second reading, St. Paul urges us to be of one “mind” and “heart” and with the “same love.” What can you do this week to restore bonds of love and unity between individuals who have become estranged to you or to others?
- St. Paul goes further and also says an astonishing and very challenging thing. We are told to regard others as more important than ourselves! What do you think this means? How do you honestly regard others relative to yourself? What specifically do you need to do to begin adopting the attitude described by St. Paul?
- In the Gospel, Christ admonishes the chief priests and elders for giving lip service to their faith, but not really living it. They claim to follow God, but actually do nothing. What can you do to make your faith have a greater impact on how you live out your life (i.e., be not just a hearer of the Word, but a “doer”)?
- The meditation speaks of how easy it is to “think in modules” and then to base our life on them. These modules include church, prayer, work, family, and financial modules. The meditation goes on to say that “we should let one module control all of the others: the ‘life in the Spirit’ module.” It then ends with these challenging words: “Let Jesus and his love become your overriding module, and you’ll find yourself living a more peaceful life.” How can you make these words a greater reality in your life?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord to transform you so you can be more like him and that you grow as his disciple. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.