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Reflections for Sunday, January 20, 2013

Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96:1-3,7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11)

Mary’s Great Faith and Trust in the Lord, A Model for Us to Follow in Prayer

Do whatever he tells you. (John 2:5)

Can we really change God’s mind? Well, maybe. Let’s take a look at a few stories from Scripture where people appear to do just this.

Matthew tells of a Canaanite woman who asks Jesus to help her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). At first, Jesus wasn’t very accommodating. But this woman would not be denied. Ultimately, her persistence paid off, and Jesus gave her what she asked for. And who can forget the way Moses convinced God not to destroy the Israelites after they had committed idolatry with the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-14)?

Today’s Gospel is another example. When Mary asked Jesus to resolve an embarrassing predicament at a wedding reception, he first told her, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). But then he went ahead and turned jars of water into choice wine, just as she asked him to do.

What’s more, Scripture tells us, “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (James 5:16). It is fervent prayer that influences God. It’s faith that moves mountains. So it seems that we really can influence God.

Of course, we still have to deal with the question of why some of our prayers appear to go unanswered—even our fervent, faith-filled pleas for help. Here is where we come face-to-face with the mystery of God’s will and his wisdom. God knows what is best, and there are times when we simply have to trust him, as a child trusts its father.

This is what makes Mary’s response so important for us: “Do whatever he tells you.” If you are trying your best to be right with God and if you are persistent in asking for something in prayer, God will hear you. He will do whatever is best for you. You have done all you can do, and now you can leave it in God’s hands, surrendering like Mary, committed to doing “whatever he tells you.”

“Lord, you know my needs. You know my heart. I trust in your wisdom and your love.”

(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.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

 

  1. In the first reading, we read that God “delights” and “rejoices” in his people.  God’s joy is compared with the joy of a bridegroom in his bride.  St. Augustine said each Christian should be an alleluia, from head to foot.  How would you describe how God has blessed your life? Does your life reflect a joy in what God has done for you?  What steps can you take to increase your “joy in the Lord”?

 

  1. In the Responsorial Psalm, we are encouraged to “announce” God’s salvation and “tell” others of his “glory” and “wondrous deeds.”  What opportunities are available in your church, at work, in the community, or at home to bring Jesus Christ to others? Which of these opportunities can you follow up on in the coming weeks?

 

  1. In the letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul speaks of the individual spiritual gifts we have each received from God. He goes on to say that: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Corinthians 12:7). How well do you know what spiritual gifts God has given you?  What practical steps can you take to gain a greater understanding of these gifts

 

  1. St. Paul says these spiritual gifts are not just for us.  God is asking us to share our “gifts” in order to build up the Church.  What can you do, individually, or as a group, to make your “gifts” available to others, including your parish community?

 

  1. In today’s Gospel, Mary’s great faith in Jesus is summed up in these words to the wine servers: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).  Our own faith is built up, as God touches us, and speaks to us, through our prayer and scripture reading and through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Have you ever experienced times when you sensed God was speaking a word to you in your heart. What was the impact on your life?  What do you believe God is asking of you now?
  2. The meditation also refers to these words to Jesus as follows: “This is what makes Mary’s response so important for us: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ If you are trying your best to be right with God and if you are persistent in asking for something in prayer, God will hear you. He will do whatever is best for you. You have done all you can do, and now you can leave it in God’s hands, surrendering like Mary, committed to doing ‘whatever he tells you.’” These words remind us why we can always pray with expectant faith, believing that God always hears our prayers and responds in a way that is best for us or the person we are praying for. Share a time when you had to pray in expectant faith, even though you were not sure of what God would do. What impact did this have on your faith in him?

 

  1. Take some time now to pray and ask God the Father to deepen your faith and trust in him and for the grace to always pray with expectant faith in him.  Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.


These reflection questions are provided courtesy of The Word Among Us.