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Posts Tagged ‘call’

Download Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of the Prophet Jonah is a book about his life. It is understood not to be an historical writing, but a reflection on the nationalism of the Hebrew people (represented by Jonah) who could not consider ‘Gentiles’ as worthy of recieving God’s Mercy and attention (represented by the Gentile city of Nineveh). Jonah was called by God to speak to the people of Nineveh but instead chose to run in the opposite direction. Only after trying to escape and spending 3 days in the belly of a whale did he show obedience to God’s call. Strikingly the people of Nineveh responded to God’s call to change and ‘turn from their evil way’. Have you heard a constant voice, noticed a constant desire, felt a passion stir within that does not go away? This is frequently the way people experience God’s ‘call’ upon their life. Are you ‘running in the opposite direction’? Arguing with God (like Jonah) with reasons ‘why you will not do it’. What is your best guess as God’s calling on your life today. What is your response?
  2. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is an early letter when Paul still thought Jesus would be returning ‘very soon’. While we are conscious of Jesus’ delayed return his message still holds: all the things of the world will pass away and nothing is to become an obstacle between ourselves and God. List the relationships and objects / possessions that are important to you. Is anyone / anything damaging the time and relationship and obedience that God is asking of you? What could you do to restore a balance? What could you ‘let go of’ to be more available to God?
  3. The beginning of Mark’s Gospel quickly teaches about being a disciple of Jesus. In a dark way the cost of being a true disciple is suggested with John the Baptist being ‘handed over’. Jesus too will be handed over. Disciples too will be handed over. A battle scene is subtly painted with words. Satan’s rule is now going to be replaced by that of God: The Kingdom of God is at hand! While sometimes slower at revealing itself, God’s ways to bring justice and overcome evil will triumph. Are you with God? Are you engaged in overcoming ‘evil’ or are you passively watching? What does ‘Repent’ (change) mean for you?
  4. Simon and Andrew, with their Father and hired men are considered to be at least ‘middle class’. Part of a family business, boats, employees. In following Jesus they are letting go of family expectations and financial security. They must be attracted to an even greater concern. What is it? Re- image the scene using your own ‘family’ and ‘work’. What is your response to Jesus?
  5. In the Gospel of Mark, immediately Jesus chooses disciples. Immediately he places himself with others in a community. He will teach but also receive companionship. Who are like- minded people who you need to support your discipleship? How could you ‘build community’ together to encourage faithfulness and obedience to Jesus?
  6. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?

Download 2nd Sunday Lent

Reflection Questions

  1. Abram (later to be given a new name Abraham) experiences the first ‘call’. It becomes the ‘pattern’ of each person God continues to ‘call’, move, inspire. God seems to want each of us to ‘move’ from our current place which could be psychologically, spiritually, geography. In the season of Lent what would it mean for you to ‘Go forth from the land of your family, your home’? What attachments may be stopping you hearing God’s ‘call’?
  2.  God promises a response to those who respond to the mystery of divine inspiration – blessing! The word is mentioned 5 times. How could your life become more of a ‘blessing’ so that others might remember your life as a beautiful legacy. Have you considered the name of ‘christian’ is honored or dishonored through your life and example. How could those who bear the name ‘Christ’-ian make a huge impact on the world during Lent? Traditionally the practices of prayer, fasting and giving are meant to do this. What would you suggest?
  3. ‘Bear your share of hardship for the gospel’. Do you know anyone or any project that is experiencing ‘hardship’ in trying to bring God’s love to the world? It often requires great sacrifice and walking in faith like Abram into unclear territory’. In this season of lent how could you learn about, give generously, ‘bear the burden’ so as to bring God’s blessing upon the world? If you made a decision to give are you willing to give so that you share in a little insecurity and discomfort so as to bring others into security and comfort?
  4. Peter, James and John are three disciples Jesus chooses to give a special experience of who he truly is. A ‘mountain’ or ‘high place’ was symbolic of a place where one can ‘be in touch with God’. Where is a ‘place’ where you feel close to God and helps you ‘listen’ to yourself and God?
  5. Jewish people remembered living in tents in the 40 years of wandering in the desert. They believed God would come among them and look after them again with the coming of the Messiah. They thought Moses or Elijah would come again. Peter acknowledges Jesus’ true identity. White symbolizes divinity and Jesus being truly God among us. What are you waiting for God to ‘do’ for you? Can you identify ways God is showing himself present and active now in your life?
  6. The disciples were ‘afraid’. Have you ever been ‘afraid’ of breaking a love relationship with someone close to you? This is called ‘holy fear’. How could you live a ‘holy fear’ this lent?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

For some further resources for your Lenten Journey click here

 

Download 4th Sunday Advent

Reflection Questions

  1. The 4th Sunday of Advent points excitedly to the next few days – the birth of Jesus. In the final days before Christmas how could you achieve a balance: writing christmas cards and preparing heart and home for Christ. Attending christmas parties and choosing space and silence for prayerful listening to God. Buying christmas presents and being a christmas presence? If you were asked to describe your joy at Christmas what would you say?
  2. Ahaz was King of the southern Kingdom of Judah. Isaiah was trying to encourage him not to enter a military agreement with Assyria. Both God and Isaiah hold a conversation with Ahaz. Go on, ask for a sign from God! He declines, most probably because he does not want any sign to change his mind. Is there any decision you have made which you stubbornly refuse to change your mind about yet feel God wants a conversation about it? If you were to ask for a sign from God to guide your future, what would you ask for?
  3. The ‘sign’ of a young girl of marriageable age (maiden) conceiving and bearing a son ‘Emmanuel’ has been interpreted as a great fulfilment of Gods birth among us in Jesus through Mary.  When a sign is given it requires both ‘seeing’ and ‘understanding’. Ponder a ‘sign’ that has changed your life. How has the ‘sign’ of Jesus changed your life?
  4. Paul frequently introduces himself as ‘a slave’ of Christ Jesus. Being a slave is actually freeing for Paul. The emperor, idols, money, possessions… nothing and nobody is his Master. Only Jesus. He lives in love and for love alone. Jesus, who is God ‘enfleshed’ has the first call of obedience on his life. Can you glimpse Paul’s joy and freedom? What has God ‘sent’ (the meaning of the word ‘apostle’) you to ‘be’ and ‘do’? Are you free enough to say ‘Yes’?
  5. While we often remember Mary’s visit by the angel and her ‘Yes’ to God, we can easily miss Joseph also had a visit by an angel (message bearer) in a dream. Without Joseph saying ‘Yes’ Mary and Jesus could both have been killed! (public stoning was the penalty for pregnancy before marriage). Joseph ‘did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him’. Is your life open to being changed and disturbed by ‘an angel’? Have you ever pondered how vulnerable and uncertain is the experience that Mary and Joseph walk into with their combined ‘Yes’s’
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection – 12th Sunday Yr B – Feast of John the Baptist

Reflection Questions

  1. The celebration of the Birth of John the Baptist is a very early christian celebration dating back to the 4th century. John is like a bridge, linking the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the greatest of prophets pointing to the promised Messiah – Jesus. Today we are reminded of the importance of prophets and people who ‘point the way’.  Are we willing to enter the discipline of prayer and having an open ear and heart? Undergo ‘desert training’ of purification and moulding? Are we willing to speak the ‘hard word’?
  2. Isaiah writes of 4 poems or songs of the ‘suffering servant’. The third song is presented today. Have you ever felt like you had ‘toiled in vain’, ‘spent all your strength’ felt as good for nothing and ‘useless’? Yet God has been gradually using these experiences to make you ‘sharp’. Sanding and polishing you into an arrow, storing you in his quiver, ready to be used to bring God glory. Consider the hard times of suffering. How has this strengthened and sharpened and polished you?
  3. What do you consider is your ‘calling’ from God. Are you thinking ‘too little’, just being a servant when in fact God wishes you to be  a ‘light to the nations’?
  4. Paul is speaking to Jewish listeners in a town called Pisidia. They understood they were waiting for the promised Messiah, a descendant of David. Paul shares with them this long awaited person – Messiah – has already been and gone! Did they not know!? Many people ‘wait’ for salvation and healing of the world. Have you considered what they ‘wait’ for? Hope to ‘see’? Could they see this in your life?
  5. An incredible amount of silent work of the Holy Spirit takes place with Elizabeth and Zechariah and John. Naming their new-born boy ‘John’ breaks from custom and shows they are obedient (to the Angel and the Spirit) and open to the new way of God working. Painfully, John will not follow his Father and be a priest in the Jewish Temple. Instead he will leave the city and be part of the Qumran community in the desert.  He will eventually emerge as a prophet calling God’s family to wash again in the waters of the Jordan – renew and start again the entry into the promised Land, this time truly becoming a ‘light for all nations’. Consider the experience of Elizabeth. Zechariah. John. Disciples of John. Jewish people. What part of John’s life can you identify with? What part do you rebel from?
  6. ‘What then will this child be’? Circumcision, 8 days after the child is born, marked ‘baptism’ and ‘belonging’ to God. Have you prayed openly to God for your children, brothers, sisters, for the grace of baptism and their ‘special calling’ to be stirred up and real? To become strong in spirit? What gifts do you see in them? Have you spoken to them about this?
  7. The desert has a special place in the memory of Jewish people. It was a place of God luring his chosen bride and people closer to him. It involved testing, proving, preparation. Could you create more desert time in ‘prayer’ so you can hear from God how you are to ‘manifest’ ‘show’ and live your life in the Church (Israel)?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

 

 

Download 4th Sunday Easter Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The Church celebrates ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ today. It is an opportunity to consider service of Christ in the Church for the World through a vocation in single life, married life, priesthood, religious life. Can you think of people who are good examples for you of each vocation? Spend time in prayer praying for each one.
  2. Vocation means ‘call’. St Ignatius teaches us that: “God writes his hopes into our deepest desires”. What does that mean God may be calling you to? Imagine the highs and lows of each vocation – what attracts you? What desire is strongest? Are you willing to follow it?
  3. ‘Laying down one’s life for the sheep’ is contrasted with being a ‘hired man’ who works for pay and has no ‘concern’ for the sheep. What do you think is the difference between Vocation and Career? Does one lead down and the other attempt climbing up?
  4. St Peter shares a building image. Very large stones were measured and cut to ‘fit’ and be suitable for building upon. Is your life truly ‘built’ upon Jesus or is it merely ‘looking’ at Jesus? Does your lifestyle ‘show’ you are ‘God’s child…’?
  5. One of the actions done by a good shepherd is to ‘lie down’ in the ‘gateway’ of a small  low fenced circle of stones to care for the sheep and protect them from harm. The good shepherd was willing to fight to the death any wolf seeking to harm the sheep. It was an expectation that a child who was looking after the sheep, if attacked, was to show evidence of scratches or wolf fur to the family. Are you willing to fight and protect God’s family? Seek out the lost who have strayed? Stand attentive to warn of dangerous influences?
  6. ‘Laying down ones life’ is another scriptural picture of the way Jesus lay down his life on the cross – as the good shepherd. Laying down and enduring a sleep-shortened night is something parents do for love of their children. Knowing sheep by name, sharing each day and providing nourishment and shelter. Can you see similarities between parenthood and priesthood? Does ‘laying down your life’ appeal to you or frighten you? Does love lead you – or does fear fill you?
  7. ‘No-one takes it from me, I lay it down on my own’. A vocation is something freely chosen. We ‘hear’ the call of God through desire and attraction, we give ourselves to walk the journey of discovery and we ‘take up’ what is involved in faithfulness to our personal calling. Fear. I’m not good enough. I feel stuck. I don’t know are all human responses. Consider reflecting on the document ‘Discerning your vocation’ to show your willingness to take a further step into God’s call. Click here or go to https://livingtheword.org.nz/resources/
  8. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?