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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Mark Sunday Readings’

 

Download 5th Sunday
Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Job is very rarely seen in the Sunday Lectionary. Job is ‘successful’ with a large family, significant wealth, health, a good name and reputation. Then suffering strikes. Significantly, in the midst of his suffering Job refuses to believe that suffering is God’s punishment for sin. He is innocent. Today’s passage is Job’s cry from the depths of his personal suffering. Only courage, perseverance and openness to God does Job recognise God is always looking after him. God is not manipulated by good or evil. Suffering is a profound mystery of being human. What sentence of Job can you identify with personally? What experience of ‘suffering’ has taught you most?
  2. Paul had decided not to accept money from people in the town of Corinth for his preaching. Some later preachers came after Paul and claimed this showed Paul did not believe in his own authority as a messenger of God. Paul responds that he wished to highlight the difference between the message of Jesus and other ‘wandering preachers and healers’ (who demanded money for their services). It is not ‘Paul’s message’ but ‘Christ’s message’ and he is under obligation to do this for free! Paul was careful how the message of Jesus would be received. Are you able to ‘adapt’ your witness and example to ensure Jesus is ‘received’? Can you think of an example today?
  3. Mark continues to show the Kingdom (Reign) of God is truly coming into the world through Jesus’ words and actions overcoming evil. This is symbolised through healing those who were sick and casting out evil spirits. People who were sick or tormented were regarded as ‘unclean’ and ‘sinful’. They were not permitted into the Temple to worship. Jesus ‘touches’ them and cures them. Now they are free to be with family and in the Temple. They can now participate fully in the life of the community. Does your life heal or harm? Include or exclude? What happens when someone in need is brought to you?
  4. Jesus’ disciples find Jesus in prayer. They seek to make him return home to carry on the healing. His reputation (and their own reputation) is growing because of his success. Many people and their needs cause Jesus to find silence and pray to God for direction. From prayer Jesus clarifies his ‘purpose’. Consider how busy Jesus became. How busy are you? What burdens and expectations do people pressure you to meet? Have you lost your ‘purpose’? Spend time in prayer in a deserted place and ask direction from God.
  5. Disciples of Jesus continue the ministry of Jesus. Jesus heals many lives. Healing is making ‘whole’, comforting, welcoming back into community, lifting burdens. Does your life, words and actions ‘drive out demons’? Establish peace, forgiveness, hospitality, justice? Do you see and fight evil?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Deuteronomy is a book of long sermons and reflections. It is regarded as the second (deutero) law, an insightful reflection on the teachings of Moses. Although the great prophet, Moses did not lead God’s people into the promised land. Yet the community realised how necessary it was to have someone completely ‘in tune’ with God who could correct and guide them. Are you frightened to ‘hear the voice of God’? Do you resist being ‘still’? Listening to the deepest voice of God within your spirit? Is there a ‘prophet’ that God has placed in your life and you know it is important to ‘listen to the words of their mouth’?
  2. A true prophet speaks what God has spoken. It is not made up wisdom. Have you ‘presumed to speak in my name’? Consider praying to God for particular wisdom and insight for people whom you guide with your words and witness. Do any images or words or ideas come to mind? Write them down and continue to ask God for guidance.
  3. St Paul’s writings teach of equality of men and women in marriage. Putting the letter to the Corinthians in context, Paul’s early writings presume Jesus’ return is to happen so soon, it is best to let nothing distract us from being ready. What makes you anxious? Distracted from God?
  4. The Gospel of Mark immediately shows Jesus overcoming the forces of evil. Check out a typical day of Jesus in Mark chapters 1-3! The battle between Good and Evil is striking. Unclean spirits are taunted and afraid and surprisingly acknowledge the identity of Jesus before anyone else. Jesus is experienced differently from the scribes who taught legal rules. Jesus in his words and action brought healing and liberation. Are you a person of ‘word’ and ‘action’? Is your word filled with commitment to bring about what you have said?
  5. Exorcisms done by Jesus symbolise and reveal the ultimate struggle between good and evil that Jesus is involved with. To bring the ‘Kingdom of God’ into reality involves ‘fighting against evil’. Is there anything that you are doing in your life that Jesus would not do? If Jesus were to be in your home, flat, workplace, what would he resist? Fight? Seek to change?
  6. Jesus is shown to be the true prophet, fulfilling the prophecy of Moses (first reading) whose word is the Word of God. Yet be breaks the ‘sabbath’ law by ‘working a healing’. He does this in the synagogue, in front of scribes (Church leaders who teach the ‘law’). He creates a disturbance with the man convulsing and shaking in front of a crowd as he is released from domination by an evil spirit. Jesus as a prophet makes people uncomfortable. ‘Prophets make lovely additions to the Bible, but you certainly don’t want one in your neighborhood. No Sir! Prophets wreak havoc on the status quo…’ Can you identify anyone who is prophetic? Whose presence brings God and causes havoc in the re- establishment of God’s order? What prophetic word or act could you do this week?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection 33rd Sunday Yr B

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 judgement.
  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 (abhorent 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 ‘unveiling’ 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 ‘event’ and ‘struggle’ and ‘victory’ has taken place on the cross? Could this be why the early disciples were so expectant of Jesus’ return before ‘this generation passed away’?
  5. Why the delay in the second coming is a question asked by Christians. Why is Jesus sitting ‘waiting’ in heaven as portrayed in Hebrews? The Gospel points to a ‘gathering of the elect from the four corners of the earth’. Will this require all the earth to ‘hear the message of Jesus’? Is Jesus lazy on a heavenly chair or waiting urgently to work in the Church, in the sacraments, in each disciple, winning the world ‘heart by heart’? How do you understand christian ‘waiting’ for the second coming?
  6. ‘That day or hour’ 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 ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection Document: 31st Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Deuteronomy (second law) is a summary of God’s teachings to help guide God’s people as they leave the desert and enter their new and promised home-land Israel). Moses reminds them they have been looked after and loved so beautifully that the only proper response to God is to return love. ‘Love your God with all your heart’. Have you ‘taken into your heart’ God’s love and care for you?
  2. Jewish people still treasure this ‘command’ to hear and remember. Devout  Jews wear this prayer in little prayer containers (phylacteries) on their wrist and forehead, pray it morning and evening, and have a container at the doorway of their home which they touch to remind them to love God who loved them. How could you be reminded of God’s love each day? Where could you put a crucifix so that it is a daily visible and touchable reminder as you ‘come and go’ in and out of your home?
  3. The Letter to the Hebrews is written for Jewish christians who are struggling and tempted to return to the practices of the temple, the laws, the sacrifices. Jesus is shown to be the true and perfect high-priest who will never die and whose sacrifice on the cross forgives ‘once and for all’. Do you ever think something else needs to be done to forgive you? Make you acceptable? Do you find yourself holding God’s love at arms length until you become perfect by your own actions? What practices or traditions do you long for that used to make you feel well?
  4. Jesus is now in Jerusalem. He has chased out money changers from the Temple, had arguments with Pharisees and Scribes. Today a frequent faith question is discussed. Jews believed that 613 laws were developed from the 10 commandments. Living all these laws put one in right relationship with God. Scribes who were teachers of the laws especially to the younger generation were often asked: Make it simple? Which is the greatest? Jesus quotes from Dt 6, 4 (1st Reading) but also adds Lev 19,18 – care of the poor (check out Lev 19.9-17). 613 becomes 2. How do you move from love of God on Sunday to love of God on Monday? Do you find it easy to separate love of God from love of neighbour? How do you see this in your life? In the Church?
  5. The Prophets of the Old Testament constantly pointed out the ease at which people worshipped in the temple with ‘burnt offerings and sacrifices’ but did not love their ‘neighbour’ shown by helping others in need. Love of God draws me into a relationship with all whom God loves. God painfully wishes our love to be extended to lift up the lowest and forgotten in society. Imagine entering a home for dinner and saying nice words at the table. Upon leaving the house kicking the children and scratching the hosts car. What is going on?
  6. The scribe agrees with Jesus. But Jesus says things are still incomplete: ‘you are not far from the Kingdom of God’. Close but not there yet! Your head is ‘on board’ but is your life going to truly show direct ‘action’ linking God AND Neighbour? The crowd stayed silent. Why? What would it involve to actually live and love neighbour as your own flesh and blood?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download 25th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Wisdom continues the suffering servant theme of Isaiah last week and points to the suffering that Jesus will experience. Many Jewish people were searching for meaning and guidance outside Judaism while living in Alexandria (a large Greek city). Have you experienced a time when you went searching for other belief systems because the society you lived in made fun of your religious beliefs? Where did you turn? What happened?
  2. The Book of Wisdom reveals worldly people oppose Godly people. They pretend righteous motivations…. ‘let us see whether his words be true’…. ‘let him prove his gentleness and patience’. Has this experience of persecution and trial been part of your christian witness? Have you been able to live in trust that ‘God will take care of you’? Can you see and believe evil actions ultimately get found out and goodness is vindicated?
  3. Living in peace with each other in christian community is our calling. A desire for glory and power and possessions needs to be brought out into the open. What peace-full virtue from James could you practice more of: be pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant? What object or honor are you wanting to possess? Name a ‘selfish ambition’…
  4. Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark has 3 predictions of the passion. Each time Jesus talks about his suffering the disciples completely misunderstand what he is talking about. Today is the second prediction. Jesus talks about Death. Disciples talk about Glory. Jesus’ teaching about accepting suffering is contrasted with his disciples argument about seniority. 2 lifestyles are revealed. What style of living describes you: living upward (glory and honor and violence) or living downward (service and humility and nonviolence)?
  5. Jesus chooses to expose the disciples lust for power in a quieter moment ‘inside the house’. He challenges them. They were really just concerned about ‘power and glory’… ‘who was the greatest’. Jesus does a very revealing action. While they wanted to know who was ‘at the top’, Jesus takes a child representing someone ‘at the bottom’. He collapses the social and power structure. Receive and welcome and show hospitality and inclusion to the ‘bottom’ in society. Can you see how living this invitation will inevitably enter a disciple into upsetting the status quo. Upsetting the power structure of society. Jesus calls this a disciple ‘picking up the cross’. In your world, community family, workplace, who is ‘at the bottom’ (equivalent of a child in Jesus’ time). How could you ‘receive’ them? Jesus identifies with them. Will you stand up for them?
  6. In Jesus’ time, a child was ‘at the bottom’ of society because in a shame / honor culture, it would be highly unlikely that a good act toward a child would be ‘rewarded’ by the child talking to the community about the hospitality received. As a result, a kind action does not get rewarded with ‘honor’ in the eyes of the community. Therefore it is not worth doing. Can you recognise how subversive Jesus’ placing the child ‘in their midst’ is to the culture of the disciples. Who is the equivalent of a ‘child’ today?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection – 17th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. Over the next 5 weeks, our scripture readings focus upon the events of God feeding his people. We depart from the normal Gospel of Mark readings from Mark chapter 6 and are placed into the Gospel of John chapter 6. The next five weeks provide an opportunity for prayer and deeper reflection upon the Eucharist and its meaning for our lives.
  2. Jewish people recognised miraculous events of Prophets feeding God’s people with bread symbolised God feeding his family and satisfying their hunger. It was normal to bring Barley – which was harvested around the time of the Jewish passover – to the temple as an offering. Significantly, because the temple in the North (Gilgal) was following false Baal worship the bread / barley offering is presented to a holy man (Elisha) who distributed it to the poor.  Do you experience the prophetic connection between worship and being fed and ‘morality’ – now feeding the poor of the world on behalf of God?
  3. Last week we heard Jesus has united us all together – Jews and Gentiles. Paul encourages us ‘to live in a manner worthy….’ showing this unity. How do you experience disunity?
  4. Imagine your life, relationships, work-place. How could you practice unity-creating virtues: humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with, striving to preserve unity, maintaining a ‘bond of peace’? What is your biggest challenge?
  5. Because the Gospel of Mark (Yr B) has only 16 chapters, we jump into John chapter 6 for 5 weeks to explore Jesus’ feeing the 5,000. The story of Jesus feeding with ‘bread’ is told 6 times in the Gospels. John is the most theologically full with special words and meaning. It is around the Jewish Feast of the Passover. At passover Jewish people remembered Moses the great prophet feeding them with ‘manna in the desert’. The promised Messiah (King) would also do a miraculous feeding. We notice in each of the three Passovers of Jesus’ public ministry (Jn 2, 6, 19) the passover is fulfilled and replaced ‘with his body’. 5 loaves and 2 fish = 7 the perfect Jewish number indicating a perfect feeding. Taking the loaves, gave thanks, gave it to distribute, gather (synagein), fragments (klasma) are all special words used by the early church for the celebration of the Eucharist. Twelve indicates ‘all Jewish tribes / people’. What do you make of all these ‘clues’ in the reading today? What does this story now mean for you?
  6. In the midst of large crowds who are hungry, Philip offers no solution. Instead he remarks it will cost so much to fix this problem, 2/3rds of a years wage! What thought or feeling decides your (in)actions: cost or compassion? Do you offer your small contribution of money or compassion, or give up in the sight of large injustice / poverty / hunger?
  7. The crowds ‘see’ the sign Jesus has worked, think of him as ‘truly the prophet’ they have been waiting for – the Messiah. The one promised. They wish to make him King. A Political Ruler. Why do you think Jesus ‘withdraws’? Why is the ‘lifting up of Jesus’ on the cross the enthronement moment in the gospel of John?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?