An online Community for Prayerful Scripture Reflection.
During this time, when many of our usual ways of expressing our Faith have been removed, and we can no longer gather together due to the Coronavirus, it is all the more important that we find ways to invest in our relationships with God and each other.
Here is one small way that we can communicate our faith and support each other whilst encouraging daily prayer with a Scriptural focus. It is also a great way for people who are usually involved with Metanoia Project groups and events to keep in touch and continue to feel part of the Metanoia family as well as the wider Church community.
God wants to speak to us all and has given us His Word as a constant source of life and relationship with Him. The aim of this group is to encourage each other to spend time each day praying with Scripture and allowing God to speak to us. Please then share your thoughts, questions and reflections to help us all hear from our Loving Father.
Metanoia Project ‘The God Who Speaks’ Scripture Reflection Group
19 hours ago
**Gospel for Friday 14th August: Matthew 19:3-12**
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’
They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’ ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’
The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.’ But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’ ... See MoreSee Less
2 days ago
**Gospel for Thursday 13th August: Matthew 18:21-19:1**
Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the part of Judaea which is on the far side of the Jordan. ... See MoreSee Less
3 days ago
**Gospel for Wednesday 12th August: Matthew 18:15-20**
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.
‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.
‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’ ... See MoreSee Less
4 days ago
**Gospel for Tuesday 11th August: Matthew 18:1-5,10,12-14**
The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.
‘See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.
‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’ ... See MoreSee Less
5 days ago
**Gospel for Monday 10th August: John 12:24-26
Feast of St Laurence, Deacon and Martyr**
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’ ... See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
**Gospel for Sunday 9th August, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Matthew 14:22-33**
**As it is Sunday, after the Gospel passage you will find some commentary split into two sections.**
**1) Some teaching points to consider in this passage**
**2) What does this mean for me and my life today?**
**We hope you will find it useful!**
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’
**1) Some teaching points to consider in this passage**
The crowds at the beginning of the passage remind us that this week’s Gospel follows directly after last week’s Gospel - the feeding of the 5000. Having just been part of an awesome miracle, the disciples are sent off without Jesus whist He disperses the crowds. I wonder what conversations the disciples were having as they set off in the boat. Thy must have been on such a spiritual high, can you imagine how they retold the event to each other as they tried to understand what had just happened? But, just like our own spiritual high points, the realities of life soon distract them as they battle a headwind.
This is one of the occasions where we see Jesus making time to pray on His own. Jesus is God, He is perfectly in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit, so why does He need to pray? It is a fantastic demonstration for us that prayer is all about relationship. Jesus isn’t praying because He has to but because He wants to spend that time with His Father. Like all good relationships, that time refreshes, reenergises, and renews Jesus in His earthly walk. We too are invited into that relationship. Prayer for us should also be a time of communion with Father, Son and Holy Spirit - a time we seek because we want that relationship not because we feel we have to.
We are told that the disciples were far out on the lake battling a heavy sea because of a headwind. I don’t know a huge amount about fishing boats in biblical times but I assume the usual source of power was either sales or oars. I would imagine that sales would be a hindrance in such conditions so the disciples must have been trying to make progress using their own strength. This seems to be Jesus’ plan for them too. He has deliberately sent them off on their own and doesn’t come to their aid until the 4th watch of the night (somewhere between 3 and 6am) which must have been several hours after they left the shore. We are told also that the wind dropped as soon as Jesus had accomplished what He set out to do. So this battling the storm after being part of an amazing miracle is a deliberate action of God.
What a wonderful metaphor for our life! How often do we feel like we are trying to sail into the wind and have only our own strength to propel us? How often do we feel like we hit a storm as soon as we come away from a spiritual high? Do we ever consider storms a punishment from God or a tactic of the devil? What if the storm is deliberately God’s setting where He is going to work something amazing for you? What if He is creating the perfect scenario to both cement the learning from the last miracle and take you even further?
Walking on Water
And how amazing is the ‘even further’ for Peter in this passage! Peter walks on water!! We can often miss this as we focus on the fact that he starts to sink (what does that say about us?) but Peter steps onto the raging sea and starts walking towards Jesus! What amazing faith! And whilst he keeps his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter is doing well but then we are told ‘he felt the force of the wind and took fright’. As soon as Peter starts to fear, he starts to sink. Fear is the opposite of trust. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust Him and His ways we can keep our head above water and achieve things that are beyond our wildest dreams. But as soon as we let fear creep in, we allow ourselves to be pulled down and swallowed up by the waves.
But even if we are in fear, we only have to cry out ‘Lord, save me!’ like Peter. Jesus responds immediately. There is no pause to teach Peter a lesson, or annoyance at having to step in again, we are told Jesus put His hand out at once. And it say Jesus held him, such a tender statement, such gentleness as the wind and waves swirl around them. And whilst holding him, Jesus says ‘man of little faith, why did you doubt?’ For a long time I read that in a voice of rebuke, that Jesus was telling Peter off for failing but I don’t think that is the case. Imagine a parent taking their child to park where there is a balance beam. To start with, the child steps out, head high and confidently walks along the beam. But then noticing how narrow the beam is and how easy it would be to fall, the child starts to wobble and falls off. Would a good parent admonish them for falling off? Or would they say something like ‘you were doing so well! What happened halfway? You doubted yourself – you can do it!’ As Jesus is holding Peter, I think this is a more likely ‘voice’ in which to hear that statement.
Who is Jesus?
When they first see Jesus walking on the water, the disciples think He is a ghost and are terrified. But Jesus immediately speaks to put their minds at rest. And what he says in relation to what He does is really important. There are many who would argue that Jesus only ever claims to be God in John’s account of the Gospel, written much later than the synoptic accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke), that none of the synoptic writers record Jesus ever saying that is Who He is. But that is because they are not reading the Gospels in the light of the Old Testament and Jewish understanding. Over and over again, the Old Testament emphasises how the God of the Universe displays His power by controlling two of the most powerful forces in creation: the wind and the sea (see Job 26:11-12, Psalm 104:1-7, Psalm 107:23-30). To draw the disciples’ attention to this Jesus says the Greek ‘ego eimi’. Whilst this can simply be translated as ‘it is I’ which is what we hear in today’s passage, it is literally translated as ‘I AM’ – the name of God revealed to Moses in the burning bush. And it is not too much of an assumption that Jesus is using it in this way here as in other places Jesus says ‘ego eimi autos’ or ‘it is I myself’ to identify Himself to the disciples (see Luke24:39). So in the midst of the storm that the disciples are facing, after the great miracle of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus is pointing out that He is not just some miracle worker (like Moses or Elijah), nor is He just some other god, He is the God of the Universe here amongst them!
And we can see from the way the disciples respond, that they catch exactly what Jesus is implying. Matthew describes that they ‘bowed down before Him and said “Truly, You are the Son of God”’. The Greek word for worship ‘proskyneo’ can be used to refer to homage given to human beings, but Matthew only ever uses it in his account of the Gospel in relation to true worship of Jesus as the ‘One True God’.
**2) What does this mean for me and my life today?**
Make time for quiet prayer
There is no doubt that Jesus was in touch with the Father throughout the day and that His whole life was an act of worship. But Jesus still recognised the importance of being alone in prayer to make the most of that relationship. We too should absolutely be in touch with God throughout the day and aim for our whole lives to be an act of worship, but that is not a substitute for deliberate, set-aside prayer time. In fact without that deliberate prayer time, we are much less likely to maintain the other ways of praying. It is so hard to make time in our busy lives to set aside as prayer time but if Jesus did it we need to do it too. And let’s be honest, we manage to make time for other things that we think are important! As Jesus showed, if we make time to put our relationship with God first then the rest will fall into place.
Get out of the boat!
Our boat could be the comfortable world we have built up around us that we don’t want to mess up, or it could be the safety nets we put in place to hide our fears, or maybe it is just where we are right now, clinging on in the middle of a storm. Jesus is calling you out of that boat because He has something amazing for you to do! Where is Jesus calling you to be bold? What seems like an impossible task? All things are impossible until we step out and start! Maybe you don’t know the way ahead but you only need to know the first step and keep trusting in Jesus that He will show you each step at a time.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Walking on water was not really an essential skill for the disciples; we never hear that Peter decided that would be the best way to fish from now on. But it was what Jesus asked Peter to do in that moment for that particular purpose. It can be really easy to get carried away in our own minds about what we should do to change the world (or the church, or our family, or even ourselves) but if it is not what Jesus is asking us to do in this particular time and place, however good it may seem, it is wrong! We need to see where Jesus is moving and cooperate with Him. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Him so that we don’t allow fear to prevent us from ever doing anything or pride to carry us in the wrong direction. Jesus has a particular job for you to do right where you are, right now. It may not be what you will do for the rest of your life (or it might be) but it needs doing now! Jesus is looking at you – are you looking at Him? ... See MoreSee Less
7 days ago
**Gospel for Saturday 8th August: Matthew 17:14-20**
A man came up to Jesus and went down on his knees before him. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘take pity on my son: he is a lunatic and in a wretched state; he is always falling into the fire or into the water. I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.’ ‘Faithless and perverse generation!’ Jesus said in reply ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’ And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy who was cured from that moment.
Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ they asked. He answered, ‘Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’ ... See MoreSee Less