A retreat for a pilgrim in a busy world

Session Five: The Teaching Ministry of Jesus


Guided meditation on the Sermon of Plains

Where are we at the moment?

Sharing Session See Note about Sharing
Pick and Choose ones that were meaningful

1. Luke: 1: 39–45 Mary Visits Elizabeth
2. Luke 1: 46–56 Canticle of Mary—Magnificat Repetition
3. Luke 1: 57–66 Birth of John the Baptist
4. Matthew 1: 1–25 Ancestors and Birth of Jesus
5. John 1: 1–18 The Word of Life
6. Matthew 10: 17–22 Call of Jesus
7. John 20: 1–8 Feast of John, apostle, evangelist. Empty Tomb
8. Matthew 2: 13–18 Holy Innocents
9. Luke 2: 22–35 Presentation in the Temple
10. Luke 2: 22–40 Repetition of the above plus the return to Nazareth
11. John 1: 1–18 Repetition of Word of Life
12. Luke 2: 16–21 Shepherds praise God
13. John 1: 19–29 Testimony of John the Baptist
14. John 1: 29–34 More Testimony of John the Baptist St. Ignatius, the pilgrim
15. John 1: 35–42 Jesus says: “Come, and you will see.”
16. John 1–43–51 Jesus calls more disciples.
17. Mark 1: 7–11 Baptism of Jesus
18. John 2: 1–11 Wedding at Cana
19. Matthew 2:1–12 Epiphany
20. John 1: 7–11 Baptism of Jesus
21. Mark 1: 21–28 Jesus cures a man with an unclean spirit

PRESENTATION: Three Kinds of Humility, Teaching Ministry of Jesus

Food for the Journey

Concluding Prayer

Opening Prayer

Meditation on the Sermon on the Mount

Take a few minutes to quite your mind, be aware of your surroundings, the chair, and relax, breathing deeply and putting yourself in a listening mode.

Imagine yourself at the edge of the city of Carpenaum. On a nearby towering hill you spot Jesus sitting and talking to a small group of men and women, some of his followers. You are not the only one that spots Jesus. Others in town see Jesus and the word quickly spreads, that Jesus, the teacher, the one who healed so many at Simon’s house was back. Many come out and start climbing the hill toward Jesus. You climb with them. You notice many are the poor of the village, the weak and the blind beggars. Some are bent over, some need to be helped up the hill, others grab on to people who are acting crazy and possessed and drag them up the hill. A few of the upper class, merchants and priests from the synagogue tag along out of curiosity in the back of the crowd.

As you and the crowd draw closer to Jesus, you notice Jesus stops speaking to his disciples. He and his disciples welcome us from the town, and make room for us in the circle seated around Jesus. After all are seated and settled Jesus looks out over the now large group gathered around him and reaches over and touches one of the old and scared blind beggars seated next to him. You hear him say: “Blessed are you, the beggars, the diseased and the dying, all those who are rejected and despised. You are innocent and not to be blamed for you state of life. In you and in your complete dependence on others is to be found the spirit of the Lord and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Then you see Jesus turn to a middle-aged woman seated with her two small children clothed in ragged wear. Her worn face is full of grief. You know she had just lost her husband, her sole means of support. She was now forced to live off the alms from the temple to sustain her life and that of her children. Her honor of being independent and self-sufficient was now turned into the shame of being dependent on others. Jesus puts his arms around her and the children and looking at them he says: “How honored are you. You who have become the least in this society, at the mercy of others, you now are the first in this, my Way of living. You who now mourn and weep will find comfort and joy.

Now he looks over to a group of his followers, including Simon Peter, his wife, children and mother-in-law and other friends who are seated near by. We know these people to be peasants like Jesus, seeking out a daily sustenance as farmers or fisherman. They were barely able to make ends meet. When they left their fishing boats to follow Jesus, or gave some food to another needy person they were taking food and substance from their own families. Jesus says to them. You who now hunger will be satisfied. When you go hungry to give to others and to follow me you are blessed and will receive your fill in so many ways. You must trust me that this will be.

Jesus, then, looks down the hill to the few privileged who have followed the crowd up the hill and are its edge. Jesus stands, points at them and raising his voice so they can hear he says: “You who are greedy, that make your fortune off of labor and misfortune of others have already received your reward. You turn a blind eye to those in need. You ignored them and treat them like they are worthless. In my Kingdom you will be last, you will be the hungry and those who mourn and weep; you might fulfill your obligations in terms of almsgiving but you do not really know these others. You keep to yourself, dining and socializing within your own class. Just as you do not really know these people you do not really know me.

Let us quietly come back from our imaginations and return to our reflection. In the story on the Sermon on the Mound Jesus goes on to describe his Kingdom, the Way of Life, the values he preaches. He describes this new way of living in terms of the Law they all knew and understood. He turns upside down many of the values and the attitudes of the time toward women, toward one enemies, toward anger, prayer, hard work, judging others. And naturally following his words he demonstrates acts of compassion, healing the lame and blind, forgiving sins or sharing what little he and his disciples had with those in need, comforting the sick and dying. After preaching and healing, Jesus asks that we leave him alone for awhile. He goes off to pray. We are left to ponder his words.


Three Kinds of Humility

Humility lies in the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the fullness of what it means to be human. To be humble is to live as close to the truth as possible: that I am created in the likeness of Jesus, that I am meant to live according to the pattern of his paschal mystery, and that my whole fulfillment is found in being as near to Jesus as he draws me to himself. The following descriptions try to sum up three different general areas on the spectrum of humility as it is actually lived by women and men.

The First Kind of Humility: This is living out the truth, which is necessary for salvation, and so it describes one extreme of the spectrum. I would want to do nothing that would cut me off from God—not even were I put in charge of all creation or even were I to be given more years of living here on earth. I know that grave sin in this sense is to miss the whole meaning of living as a human being—one who is created and redeemed to live forever in love with God my Creator and Lord.

The Second Kind of Humility: This kind is more perfect than the first, and so we find ourselves somewhere along the middle of the spectrum. My life is firmly grounded in the fact that the reality of being a person is seen fully in Jesus Christ. Just as “I have come to do you will, O God” is the motivating force of his life, so the only real principle of choice in my life is to seek out and to do the will of God my Father. With this habitual attitude, I find that I can maintain a certain balance in my inclinations to have riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor or to desire a long life rather than a short life. I would not want to turn away from God even in small ways, because my whole desire is to respond ever more faithfully to God’s calls and invitations.

The Third Kind of Humility: This is close to the other end of the spectrum, since it demands the understanding and action coming from a greater grace-gift. It consists in this: I so much want the truth of Jesus’ life to be fully the truth of my own that I find myself, moved by grace, with a love and a desire for poverty in order to be with the poor Christ, a love and a desire for insults in order to be closer to Christ in his own rejection by people, a love and a desire to be considered worthless and a fool for Christ, rather than to be esteemed as wise and prudent according to the standards of the world. By grace, I find myself so moved to follow Jesus Christ in the most intimate union possible, that his experiences are reflected in my own. In that, I find my delight. (Draw Me Into Your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises by David Fleming S.J.)

Food for the Journey

Session Five: Teaching Ministry of Jesus

GRACE DESIRED Teach me, Lord, how to do your will.

1. Mt: 5:1–12 Beatitudes an upside down kingdom
2. Mt: 5: 21–25 Teaching on Anger
3. Mt. 5: 43–48 Love your enemies
4. Mt: 6: 5–12 Teaching about Prayer
5. Mt. 6: 25–34 Dependence on God
6. Mt. 7: 1–5 Judging Others
7. Mk. 2: 23–28 Sabbath made for good of people
8. Mt. 7: 7–12 Answer to Prayers
9. Lk. 9:22–26 Conditions of Discipleship
10. Lk: 10: 25–37 Who is my neighbor?
11. Mk.3: 20–30 Jesus and the Ruler of Demons
12. Mt. 25: 31–46 Judgment of Nations
11. Mk. 10: 13–17 Blessing of Children
12. Handout Three Kinds of Humility
13. Mt. 7: 24–28 Two Foundations
14. Mk. 3: 31–35 Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
15. MK. 16: 15–18 What followers of Jesus must do?
16. Mk. 4: 21–25 Light and treating others
17. Mk. 4: 26–34 Mustard Seed
18. Mk. 7: 1–13 Teaching of the Ancestors
19. MK. 10: 17–31 A Rich Man
20. Mk. 12: 28–34 The most important commandment
21. Repetition


“May it please the supreme and divine Goodness to give us all abundant grace ever to know his most holy will and perfectly to fulfill it.” (-St. Ignatius of Loyola, This prayer was added to the end of many letters St. Ignatius wrote.)

Try to use the Praying with the Historical Jesus method, using the five senses of the imagination in prayer.

End the Prayer with a colliquy and an Our Father and immediately try to write down a few thoughts or words that struck you in prayer.

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