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Posts Tagged ‘33rd Sunday’

Download 33rd Sunday Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. The Prophet Malachi is upset. Israel has returned from exile, the Temple has been rebuilt, the liturgy is celebrated, and yet the rich are increasingly hurting the poor. He did not expect Israel to be like this. One writer expresses it this way: I know what living for God looks like on ʻSundayʼ, but what does it look like on ʻMondayʼ? How do you integrate ʻliturgyʼ with ʻlifeʼ? How does Sunday talk with Monday in your life?
  2. Malachi shares a judgment scene that we will witness at the end of days. There will be a reversal of fortunes for many. How do you understand and interpret ʻyou who fear my nameʼ. Can you identify fearing someone who loves you greatly? What does it positively cause you to do?
  3. Paul continues his letter to the Thessalonians. Some disciples were so convinced the ʻDay of the Lordʼ had arrived that they actually retired early! Unfortunately they became ʻarmchairʼ critics of others and a ʻburdenʼ. They focussed on the shortcomings of others rather than the ʻcoming of the Lordʼ. Within the Church community, is your energy focussed on being ʻcriticalʼ of others? How could your energy be turned toward focussing on Jesus?
  4. When will the final day arrive is a big question. Jesus and the Gospel writers do not give an answer to ʻwhenʼ but only ʻthatʼ it will happen. The Gospel of Luke challenges us to be ready for the last day. In the time of writing the Gospel of Luke the community had already witnessed Jewish persecution causing many to leave Jerusalem. Many disciples ended up in Rome and were also persecuted there (60AD). The beautiful Jewish temple was totally destroyed (as Jesus predicted) in Jerusalem (70AD). Further persecution occurred at the order of Domitian (80AD). Under such difficult times, apocalyptic writing gave disciples hope that there will be a final victory of good over evil. However this involves a challenge that we are to make good moral choices ʻpersonallyʼ and ʻnowʼ. What words in the gospel give you ʻhopeʼ. What words challenge you deeply? Do you consider yourself ʻreadyʼ?
  5. Contemporary society does not face many of us with such obvious persecution as the early christians experienced. Some writers suggest we are no longer faced with a ʻredʼ (blood) martyrdom, but a ʻwhiteʼ (perseverance) martyrdom. What would a ʻmodernʼ synagogue or prison be? How do you experience christians being taunted, threatened, influenced away from Christ? What does it mean to ʻgive testimonyʼ because of ʻmy nameʼ?
  6. Next week is the final week of the liturgical year celebrated by the Feast of Christ The King. We liturgically celebrate ʻas if it was the ʻend of timeʼ! Imagine the urgency of having only a few weeks to live. How would you live? What would you consider is most important to do? What would be demanded of you in your spiritual life? What do you need to ʻdoʼ?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download 33rd Sunday Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. In the context of the Church’s liturgy, the 33rd Sunday is only one week away from the end of the year. Next week is Christ The King. Liturgically we enter an atmosphere of reaching the ‘end of time’. Because of this pattern todays readings have an apocalyptic atmosphere of end time struggle and judgment.
  2. Daniel means ‘My judge is God’. The Book of Daniel is written during a time of great persecution when Antiochus Epiphanes is forcing Jews to convert to pagan gods. Here is the first time in Hebrew scriptures that a resurrection of the faithful is mentioned. God is the master of history. All those ‘in the book’ who ‘shine brightly’ and lead people on the way to ‘justice’ will be like stars living forever. Examine your own life. How would the statement ‘my judge is God’ shape your life? Antiochus may not be forcing you to eat pigs flesh (abhorrent and unclean to Jews) but what idols or practices are you subtly invited to ‘eat’?
  3. The Letter to the Hebrews concludes. We are taught about the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilling and finishing the Old Testament sacrifices. Notice the image of the Old Testament Priest ‘standing’ and working each day. Jesus, after the sacrifice of the cross, now being ‘seated’ and waiting for the time of gathering. Consider the victory and offer of forgiveness that has taken place on the cross. Imagine a winning sports team lifting the captain high onto their shoulders with winning trophy held high! This sacrifice of the cross – like a trophy – is held by the priest in the consecration of the bread and wine into the sacrifice and body and blood of Jesus. We stand together rejoicing. And we receive this sacrifice as a sacred forgiveness and communion meal bringing us into a total physical and spiritual union with God and each other. Do you see the depth and great celebration taking place at Mass? What would you like to learn more about? Who could you ask?
  4. The Book of Daniel and The Book of Revelation are apocalyptic writings ʻunveilingʼ a vision of what will take place at the end of time. Each Gospel inserts some apocalyptic passages pointing toward that final day. The images of the sun darkened, stars falling, heavenly struggle, share a cosmic event affecting all of creation. Have you noticed that at the crucifixion of Jesus these images appear. Could this mean that the final ʻeventʼ and ʻstruggleʼ and ʻvictoryʼ has taken place on the cross? Could this be why the early disciples were so expectant of Jesusʼ return before ʻthis generation passed awayʼ?
  5. Why the delay in the second coming is a question asked by Christians. Why is Jesus sitting ʻwaitingʼ in heaven as portrayed in Hebrews? The Gospel points to a ʻgathering of the elect from the four corners of the earthʼ. Will this require all the earth to ʻhear the message of Jesusʼ? Is Jesus lazy on a heavenly chair or waiting urgently to work in the Church, in the sacraments, in each disciple, winning the world ʻheart by heartʼ? How do you understand christian ʻwaitingʼ for the second coming?
  6. ʻThat day or hourʼ is unknown. That it will happen is certain, when it will happen is uncertain. Consider a spiritual practice of imagination prayer. Present yourself to Jesus at the end of time. What does he say? What do you say?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?