This past Thursday, we embarked on a new adventure. Thanks to our growing size, we have been looking for alternate locations to host Bible study. Ideally, we would love to have a home in a central area of the diocese in which to gather, so we're working on this! We decided to gather at Freehold Raceway Mall for last week’s Bible study.
We met in the food court, and each of us were able to choose our own meal preference, eating together while gathering in fellowship. We then split into two groups for Bible study. Here are some of the highlights from this week’s readings.
“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence…”
We discussed the ways we live our lives to the fullness that God has promised us. Through discernment, we try our best to follow His will for us, with the faith that He will guide us in the right direction. We must live in the present moment, not waiting for a stable career, home, marriage, or some future milestone to begin our path to holiness.
Too many people today wait for the “real world” to begin, but we have been experiencing the “real world” since birth. We must say yes to His call, not waiting for some perfect moment that may never exist, but believing that He will guide us where we are right now.
“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially…”
This verse shows how God has no partiality in dealing with us. We are not placed on a pedestal because of our faith in Him, which we must remember when it comes to our interactions with those around us. God is the ultimate judge, so it is not our place to condemn sinners. We are, after all, sinners who also need His mercy. We are called to forgive “not seven times, but seventy times” (MT 18:22).
Our group discussed how it often seems easier to forgive distant people like terrorists because we can see how they have been brainwashed to believe that what they are doing is for the greater good, even if they are misguided. What is more difficult is forgiving those who are closest to us, especially those who continue to cause us pain after we have already struggled to forgive them for past wrongs. But God’s mercy is endless, so we must strive to imitate that in our own lives.
“Jesus himself came up and walked along them; but they were kept from recognizing him…”
The Gospel reminds us that it is easy to fail to recognize Christ in our lives. Like the men who failed to recognize Jesus while walking with him, we often fail to understand His plan. We complain when things don’t work out the way we had hoped, not seeing the bigger picture. How foolish we often are in these reactions to adversities that we encounter in order to be strengthened. We want those who meet us to see Christ through our love, smiles, and kindness and not our anger, bitterness, or frustration.
Instead of grumbling about our trials, we should be joyful in our faith that God’s plan for us is more spectacular than we could ever imagine. Ultimately, it is through this joy that we are able to bring His teachings to those around us. A simple smile or a sincere question posed to a stranger can allow them to see Christ in us, thus spreading His love in the simplest ways.
Some of us were initially hesitant about holding Bible study in a mall. Would it be too noisy? Too crowded? Too distracting? Instead, the result was a grace-filled evening where we were able to not only share in faith and fellowship, but also witness to the general public. We hope that anyone who saw us sitting there reading, praying over, and discussing the Scriptures was able to see God’s presence.
We look forward to our next Bible study this Thursday, May 4th, which will be held at the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine at 6:30pm. Please join us this week!
By: Stephanie Queiroz