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Posts Tagged ‘Be attitudes’

Discussion Guide:    4th Sunday OT Yr. A – ‘Be’ like Jesus


The Way Forward – A Sermon on the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12 – Interrupting the Silence

Reflection Questions:    • 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?

• 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?

• 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.

• 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 ʻlivethewordʼ this week?

Download 8th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. Isaiah 49 continues to talk to a Jewish community that have returned to Jerusalem (Zion) and found a broken city, no home, no temple, no liturgy. They feel ‘forgotten’. Isaiah shares a beautiful feminine image of God whose ‘heart’ is even more loving toward us than our own mother! Can you locate a memory and experience of a Mothers tender love and allow this truth to be an image of God for you now? What would your conversation be protected unconditionally in ‘Mums’ arms?
  2.  Paul is experiencing the people in Corinth ‘putting him down’, ‘saying words behind his back’ and ‘questioning his authority’. His response reveals he is more concerned with God’s judgement and is not controlled by ‘popularity’ or ‘performance’. Paul uses a striking greek word for steward: an oarsman responsible only to the captain of the ship (Christ). Have you had an experience of bring ‘put down’ recently? Did you respond in ‘anger’ or ‘peaceful conviction’?
  3. In Matthew 5-8 the Beatitudes (or Christian Be-Attitudes) instruct clearly: you cannot serve God AND Mammon. Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning money, property or anything you place your trust in. Have you ever deeply made the decision about God and ‘righteousenss’ as a first priority ahead of money? What has been a challenge recently that has revealed this lifestyle decision for God?
  4. “Do not worry”. How frequent are your worries and thoughts about food, your body, clothing, possessions? As a reflective awareness exercise, consider asking yourself 3 why’s about your ‘worries’. What do you find at the cause of your ‘worry’?
  5. God is deeply attached to the poor. Did you know in the New Testament 1 in every 16 sentences is about the poor. In the Gospels it is 1 in every 10 sentences. How frequent are your thoughts toward ‘righteousness’ (a title given toward those who lifted up the poor)?
  6. The ‘kingdom of God’ and ‘righteousness’ is a ‘be-attitude’ programme; living with everyone as a brother and sister calls for the poor and in need to be lifted up. This vision and passion for everything to be as God wishes (righteous) needs to ‘break into’ our hearts before it can ‘break out’ to transform social structures. Who is a person that embodies the ‘kingdom of God’ and ‘righteous’ living for you?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download 7th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Leviticus is a special collection of ‘laws’. This book was special for the ‘Levites – Priests’. Amazingly, Jewish people developed the 10 commandments of Exodus into 613 laws to guide their life. Today we receive the essential teaching: be holy and love your neighbour as yourself. Have you ever re-imagined the invitation ‘love your neighbour as your own flesh’? What would it actually look like for you to live this invitation this week? This year?
  2. ‘Do you not know that you are…..?’ is a question about identity. Knowing your identity shapes your behaviour and life-style. Imagine if you were actually a Prince or Princess? Paul invites us into a profound reflection: ‘Do you not know that you are a temple of God’? If God’s spirit is in you what does this do to your ‘identity’? Use your imagination to ponder the consequences
  3. Gandhi famously quoted this saying of Jesus when he concluded: ‘an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.’ Jesus today is taking some basic and well known ‘laws’ and challenging his followers to be very different – revolutionaries of a radical love! Examine your upbringing and cultural expectations about life: ‘you have heard it said…..’ Are there any attitudes and values that you accept as normal from your parents and upbringing but in fact they are opposite to values you see lived by Jesus? Is there anything you are doing in your life that Jesus wouldn’t do?
  4. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is teaching the heart of a Christian life-style. Some people have called Matthew Chapters 5-8 the          ‘Be-Attitudes’. Why offer no resistance to the one who is evil? Hand over your tunic and cloak? Give to anyone who asks? Love your enemy? Pray for your persecutors? Is this silliness or a wisdom that can change the world? Does Jesus ‘uncover’ the violence of society and invite his followers to not be part of it?
  5.  Many people feel distressed that they are not ‘perfect’. We all know our failings. However, Saints are not perfect, they are people who have sinned but keep on getting up! Christian spirituality encourages us to know that love practiced, grows, and overcomes darkness. Do you only love those who love you? Why? Can you glimpse God’s unconditional loving watering the earth… on good and bad alike. Would you like to abandon your life to this type of loving?
  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’