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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Download 5th Sunday Lent

Reflection Questions

  1. Ezekiel is an interesting person. He was both a prophet and a priest. He was also taken away with the first group of Israelites into exile. He shares a positive and hopeful message to his people. God will turn this situation around. Name a difficult struggle you experience in your life. Can you see a slow transformation and wisdom in the midst of your suffering? What does the deep voice of the spirit invite you to do so you can ‘rise from your grave’?
  2. St Paul uses the word ‘flesh’ (sarx) to mean people who have a self-centred orientation towards the world. Frequently those who live this way make themselves, their senses and pleasure, their ‘idol’ / god. Those who live directed by the spirit of Christ are turned outward in love and ‘self-lessness’. Ponder the powerful bodily image of arms wrapped around yourself tightly, or arms open and outstretched in embrace of the world. How do you live your life? How is your almsgiving this lent?
  3. In the Gospel of John Jesus performs 7 signs. Each sign is a fulfillment of a Messianic hope from the Old Testament. Each sign reveals the presence of God in Jesus. Today is the 7th and most important sign. Jesus overcomes death. And only God can overcome death! Place yourself in this gospel story. If you were really there in this scene what questions would you ask? What would you believe from this experience?
  4. Martha’s questions reveal a growing knowledge of who Jesus really is. She begins with Jesus as someone close to God – “whatever you ask, God will give to you.” Jesus responds to Mary’s belief in the resurrection on the last day with a powerful statement: Mary, the one who is in charge of the resurrection is looking at you! I AM the resurrection and the life. And to prove it, Jesus raises Lazarus. What does Jesus wish to reveal to Mary? Do you see the ‘sign’ and believe what it is pointing to?
  5. The Rabbi’s believed and taught that the spirit and breath of life hovered around a dead body for three days. Waiting for 4 days can be understood as Jesus ensuring everyone knew Lazarus had truly died.  Twice Jesus is ‘perturbed’ or angry that someone he loves has been tied hand and foot and buried. (A symbol of what sin and death can do to us.) Untie him and let him go becomes a fulfillment of Ezekiel’s promise (1st reading) and an image of what Jesus can do personally for each disciple. What tomb am I in? What cloths bind me up? Who might God be using to ‘take away the stone’ blocking me from joy and life?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection Document 13th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The book of Wisdom was a book of Jewish wisdom teachings for Jews living in the midst of Greek culture and philosophy. The question of death is pondered. Physical death does not cause an end to God’s relationship with those who belong to him. This reading links to the Gospel with Jairus’ daughter raised to life. Have you reflected the beauty of creation lately? Considered what it means that each person is made ‘in the image of God’? If all of creation belongs to God, how does this affect your relationship to creation and respect-full ‘life-style’?
  2. St Paul, in writing to the Corinthians was raising money for the poor church in Jerusalem. Paul’s fund-raising starting point is ‘the gracious act’ of Jesus who in his divinity was ‘rich’, yet for our sake ‘became poor’. Paul calls this Kenosis – self emptying. Christians are to live this self emptying. Our surplus should help relieve those who have little so that their needs are met. Christians need to practice a basic human equality. Can you glimpse how much Jesus has ‘let go’ by taking on our human condition and then suffering death? Some  christians have been so deeply called to imitate this they have chosen voluntary poverty. Have you made a decision how much you need to live on? And what to do with your ‘surplus’? Have you responded to the needs of the ‘poor’? How?
  3. The Gospel has two stories of great faith. Jairus was a leader of liturgy at the Jewish Synagogue. It required great courage for him to approach Jesus as he could lose his job seeking the help of an ‘outsider’ to the Synagogue. He humbles himself and pleads for his sick daughter. Have you ever wanted to ask for help but were too embarrassed? What is it that really holds you back? What healing do you seek? Can you notice in the reading that healing often requires faith and action – and not just prayer alone? What does this inspire you to do?
  4. In ancient times many women would endure bleeding after child-birth. The unnamed women has endured this condition for 12 years. In Jewish law a flow of blood held her in a state of ritual uncleanliness. She was not to touch others as that would make them also ‘unclean’. Can you glimpse her courage in seeking help? Walking secretly through the crowd? Her intense prayer and action in ‘touching his clothes’? Her embarrassment when asked to identify herself in public? Why do you think Jesus wanted to make this ‘public’?
  5. Jesus breaks two very significant social and religious barriers. Touching a dead person and being touched by an ‘unclean’ woman. He has made himself ‘unclean’ so as to make the ‘unclean’ ‘clean’. Have you ever gone out of your way to the extent of being rejected so as to include and welcome those the group has ‘excluded’? How does it feel? What is the cost to society of not doing this? How do you experience the personal ‘cost’ of creating the Kingdom of God?
  6. ‘And they ridiculed him’….. The people attached to the Synagogue, symbolically represented by the 12 (tribes) year old Jewish girl is dead, but now invited to rise and believe in Jesus. So too the woman excluded by the Jewish code of holiness for 12 years is now made whole and welcomed by Jesus. A new people is born by faith. What does this teach us about Jesus? The Church?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?