Praying with Sunday's Scriptures
Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups continue the Renew 2000 experience of praying with the Sunday Scriptures, a Diocesan faith Sharing writing team has prepared a series using the Renew model.
April 18, 2004 -- Second Sunday of
Reading I: Acts 5:12-16
Reading II: Rev. 1;9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Gospel: John 20:19-31
By Mary Ticknor
Focus: Belief is stronger than knowledge.
Opening Prayer: Pray together Psalm 111
Song for Reflection: "We Walk by Faith" -- Today's Missal
Scripture Sharing: What thought, line or image from the Scripture readings caught your attention?
Reflection: In the reading from the gospel of John, we experience a story within a story. In this first appearance of Jesus after his resurrection, the disciples receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and through it the power to forgive sins. In the second part of the story, Thomas expresses his disbelief in the risen Christ until he has seen evidence of him. What does this text teach us about the difference between knowledge and belief? How does
your ability to believe compare with that of Thomas? What are ways your beliefs are supported by how you live?
1. Though the disciples were cowering behind locked doors out of fear of the authorities, there are no locks that can hinder the presence of Christ. What are some ways you exclude God's presence from your life by "locking him out?"
2. Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the disciples to empower them to do the work to which he had called them. What gifts of the Spirit are evident in your life? Which gifts do you rely on as you respond to the work to which you have been called?
3. Jesus granted the disciples the power to forgive sins. Why do you think this was the first power he granted to them?
4. Thomas did not believe without seeing Jesus himself. What helps you meet the challenge of believing without seeing?
5. This gospel ends with "... that through this belief you may have life in his name." What does "having life" mean to you in this world? in the next?
Action Response: How do you live stewardship as your way of life?
1. Lock the doors of noise and activity and open the door of silence. Acknowledge God's presence in your life by welcoming him into your silence for a time each day.
2. Give your "spirit gifts" to others. Share your wisdom by mentoring a young person; practice understanding with a co-worker or family member; counsel someone who needs loving support; demonstrate fortitude when your beliefs are challenged by the world; share your knowledge and skills through volunteerism; develop a practice of piety that's meaningful to you; fear turning away from the love of the Lord.
3. All things are possible with God. If you need to forgive someone in your life, pray for the grace to accomplish it.
4. Nurture your life in Christ through his Word. Explore the practice of Lectio Divina.
Closing Prayer: (Individuals offer their intentions to bring to prayer.)
As an expression of faith, recite together the Apostle's Creed.
(Ticknor is a member of the Diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2004.)