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Posts Tagged ‘4th Sunday Yr A’

Download Reflection Document 4th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. The prophecies of Zephaniah are thought to have been for a very short period of time – possibly only weeks or months. In the midst of the possibility that Assyria were going to destroy Israel, Zephaniah quietly reminds us that a people who are humble and seek justice will always find shelter and protection by God. Do you sometimes feel part of a very small ʻremnantʼ of people trying to be faithful to God? What encourages you to remain faithful? What is attractive to you about ʻhumbleʼ people and those who ʻseek justiceʼ? How could you show these virtues in your weekly life-style?
  2. St Paulʼs letters to the people living in Corinth reveal a number of arguments were occurring. One of the causes of division was gnosticism. Some believers thought they had special spiritual wisdom and knowledge which others did not have. This made them ʻsuperiorʼ to others. They knew more, had been taught better, had more spiritual wisdom and gifts. Paul writes it is inconceivable that a true christian could look down on ʻothersʼ. How does pride and ʻboastingʼ find its way into your life? What is an opposite virtue you could practice?
  3. In Matthew Jesus goes up the Mountain and gives a new law in contrast to Moses going up Mt Sinai and giving the Law of the Old Testament contained in the 10 commandments. Jesus is the New Moses. The Beatitudes are understood as a profound insight into the core teachings of Christianity and what it will mean to follow Jesus. Some people have called the Beatitudes the ʻBeʼ – Attitudes. Jesus wants disciples to ʻbeʼ like him.
  4. Consider the Beatitudes as 4 qualities and 3 practices of a disciple:
  • Blessed are the Poor in spirit. Be a person focussed on the poor (not status or riches). Am I willing to be ʻpoorerʼ so that through my giving others may have enough of the basics to live in dignity?
  • Blessed are those who Mourn. Be a person who grieves over the injustice in the world. • Am I aware and shocked at the injustices taking place in my community?
  • Blessed are the Meek. Be a person who gets angry but not aggressive. • Am I able to show self restraint in moments of conflict and possible violence?
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Be a person who seeks justice (not vengeance). • Am I able to live as if doing the ʻrightʼ think was as important for me as having daily ʻbread and waterʼ?
  • Blessed are the Merciful. • Do I consciously practice and show in all my relationships the love and compassion found in Jesus? • Blessed are the clean of heart. • Do I practice integrity and wholeheartedness in doing right?
  • Blessed are the peacemakers. • Do I practice making peace, saying sorry, healing conflict with my friends / family / relationships?
  • What is one action that you will do to be  ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download 4th Sunday Lent Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. Anointing with oil and ‘eyes being opened’ are part of the special journey in Lent for candidates asking for baptism at Easter. For those already baptized, these readings teach us about the deep meaning of our own baptism.
  2. Samuel was the young boy who sat in the temple and was taught how to listen to God’s voice. He became one of the greatest prophets because ‘he never let a word spoken to him by God fall to the ground’. Today he is told by God to do a very dangerous action – high treason! While King Saul was still alive, Samuel was to go to Bethlehem and anoint another King. Are you open to being shocked by what God plans for you? Samuel was told to fill his horn with oil and go… what do you think God is asking of you?
  3.  Samuel had previously anointed King Saul who was tall and handsome ‘head and shoulder above the rest’. He may have been tempted, or had truly learnt a lesson not to judge a person by their ‘appearance’. God sees beyond appearance into a persons heart. Identify someone you are judging by ‘appearance’ and practice noticing their ‘heart’.
  4. St Paul writes about the difference in a persons life before knowing Jesus. Imagine you are in an unfamiliar house and need to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Not knowing where the light switch is you knock into chairs and hard edged furniture. You walk slowly and carefully. Now, turn the light switch on and you walk differently. Peacefully. Confidently. ‘Arise…from death and darkness, Christ will give you light’. Imagine the experience of being blind and then being able to see. This was the experience the early church said happened through Baptism preparation for each adult.
  5. Around the year 85-90 Jewish Christians were excluded from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The man born blind became a very special story and symbol of life being changed by Jesus. The blind man considers Jesus a ‘man’. Then recognizes him as a ‘prophet’. Finally he believes Jesus to be truly the Son of Man – the promised Messiah (anointed one). He calls him Lord (the name of God) and worships him. As a result the blind man becomes rejected by the Pharisees, his family and the community’. They threw him out…. How has your faith journey grown in understanding of Jesus? Would you be willing to endure rejection or persecution for your belief? What do you think happened to the blind man? Can you identify with any of his Christian experience?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Reflections Questions

  1. The Feast of the Presentation is an ancient festival of the early Christian community in Jerusalem that can be traced back to writings in the years 300AD. A special part of the celebration was the lighting of candles to celebrate Jesus being ‘presented in the Temple’ as the ‘light to enlighten the Gentiles’ (Luke 2:32). Today many parishes have a special ceremony of blessing prayer candles, baptismal candles. Religious renew their vows and consecration. Some countries also have the custom of blessing new mothers re-enacting the blessing of Mary presenting her child in the Temple.
  2. The Prophet Malachi (meaning My Messenger) is an interesting prophet as he speaks to a community that has a beautiful and newly re-built Temple in Jerusalem, but the Priests and the People are ‘lax’ and not celebrating and worshipping with much effort. What does the image of a ‘refiners fire’ and a special ingredient to cleanse and make ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ pure mean for you?
  3. ‘Free from the fear of death’ is a special phrase. Fearful of death, so many people worship the body and the world and live as if this is all that there is. As a consequence they are subject to ‘slavery all their life’. The ‘flesh’ (sensual pleasure) and the spirit of the ‘world’ (greed) trap people. How might the ‘fear of death’ trap you? Knowing of eternal life, what is there really to fear? What is your response?
  4.  According to Jewish custom, mothers were required to be ritually purified 40 days after birth. As part of the ceremony of cleansing and new life two offerings were made. A Lamb and a dove / pigeon. If the family were poor they could offer two doves / pigeons. It is recognised that Mary and Joseph offered two birds which is evidence that they were ‘poor’. It is also recognised that a further sacrifice could be offered to ‘buy back’ the first born from God. Mary and Joseph did not do this. As a parent do you offer your children to God and help them seek God, or do you ‘buy them back’ and direct them only in the ways of the world?
  5.  The great moment foretold by the Prophet Malachi of God coming into the Temple (his home) is only acknowledged by a faithful few. The repetition of the ‘Holy Spirit’ reminds us that it is really the ‘Spirit’ that helps us see and understand God. If you were to say to someone ‘my favour rests on you’ what would that mean for you? Do you recognise at baptism that the spirit ‘rests on you’ and God ‘favours’ you?
  6.  What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download document: 4th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Question 3: In Matthew Jesus goes up the Mountain and gives a new law in contrast to Moses going up Mt Sinai and giving the Law of the Old Testament contained in the 10 commandments. Jesus is the New Moses. The Beatitudes are understood as a profound insight into the core teachings of Christianity and what it will mean to follow Jesus. Some people have called the Beatitudes the ‘Be’ – Attitudes. Jesus wants disciples to ‘be’ like him.

if you want to see what the kingdom of God could be like, if you want to live a blessed life, take the world as youknow it and turn it on its head. Imagine a world free of the tyranny, poverty, oneliness and greed that now hold it in thrall. Imagine it free of ignorance, arrogance, and indifference … imagine the hungry fred and the just vindicated, the poor satisfied and the pure sanctified. Imagine a world governed by compassion rather than a will to power. Imagine this because this is what God imagines… and this is what God wants us to make of ourselves.  Imagine such a world, then live in accordance with it. Live it into being. Live as though the world is turned upside down, because when you do you will see the kingdom, if not come, then at least coming. Live the ‘Be-Attitudes’