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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel Readings Year A’

Discussion Guide:      January 1st Yr. A : Mary the Holy Mother of God


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Reflection Questions:    • This Feast day is the Oldest Marian Feast in our liturgical calendar. The Solemnity of Mary Holy Mother of God is celebrated a week after Christmas Day. It is a ‘Christological’ Feast in which the focus is on Jesus Christ and his identity. We recognise the special role that Mary had in accepting the call to be ‘Mother of God’. This title of Mary – Theotokos – Mother of God points to Jesus’ Divine identity as truly God.

• The Blessing referred to in the Book of Numbers is still practiced by the Jewish ancestors of the Priestly line of Aaron today and in our Catholic prayer as we pray ‘Lord Hear Us’. Calling upon the Name of God brought his presence. And God himself taught Moses how to bring this blessing upon God’s family. LORD is an English translation of the Greek KYRIOS, which is a translation of the Hebrew YAHWEH – which is the Divine Name of God given to Moses on the Mountain of Sinai meaning ‘I AM THE ONE WHO IS’ (Ex 3:14). Can you see the Old Testament – Gospel link in the readings: God’s face and looking upon you and Jesus born among us. Think of close friends and pray this blessing upon them for the New Year ahead.

• Paul’s letter to the Galations is written by Paul upset at the travellers who would journey behind him and tell his communities that his message about Jesus was wrong. In the community of Galatia new converts who were not Jewish were being told they must obey all the Jewish requirements of the Law regarding food, cleanliness, circumcision, ritual practices. Paul uses a dramatic image to dismiss their arguments. Jews are slaves to a ‘law’. Christians are adopted as ‘sons’ and are now ‘heirs’ to the inheritance of freedom and unconditional acceptance by God. Do you understand and experience your relationship with God as a slave and legal observance, or as a son /daughter and a ‘family member’? What is the difference?

• The Lukan reading continues on from Christmas Day. God is very surprisingly born in an unclean place (stable) and seen first by unclean people (shepherds, who were often not able to meet ritual cleanliness requirements due to the care of their animals). Which places and people do you consider today to be ‘unclean’ and ‘unfit’ for God? How might Luke’s theme of God’s hospitality and inclusion to all challenge you this year? Who do you exclude?

• Mary is the model for all disciples. Her life was open to God’s call and plan. Her whole-hearted Yes called her to walk forward within a plan she did not fully understand. She reflected on each days events ‘in her heart’. She lived a pregnancy with the Word and let it come to birth. As the New Year begins what challenges may you say Yes to? How could you create a regular pattern of ‘prayer and reflection’ to ensure plans and resolutions move from pregnancy to physical birth?

• What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?

Download 2nd Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. Today marks the beginning of ‘ordinary’ time in the liturgy of the church. Symbolised by the color green, our ‘ordinary’ days and weeks are called to bring ‘life’ to the world. As your daily routines and patterns become established in the new year how are you encouraging life and growth to yourself, family, workplace? How could you be more ‘life-giving’?
  2. The Prophet Isaiah is living in the midst of the Jewish people in exile. He feels as if he was made into a polished arrow, concealed in a quiver for God to use (v2). Yet he is also sad that he has labored in vain, and all his energy has been spent (v3) with no results. God whispers into his ear: I have bigger plans for you. It is not enough for you to just live and speak among your family. ‘I will make you a light to the nations’! Have you ever felt tired by the experience of God ‘sharpening’ you into an arrow through your struggles? Have you adjusted your life to not simply ‘serving’ but ‘being a light’ for others?
  3. St Paul writes to the community in Corinth. He had stayed in this community for 18 months and then moved on. The community experienced struggles and difficulties when he went. Corinth was known as an ancient city with a reputation for depravity and drunkenness. So bad was its reputation it even earned the phrase in Greek ‘to live like a Corinthian’! St Paul spent 18 months here and it became one of the most vibrant Christian communities. Paul urges the community to continue to live up to their calling ‘to be holy’. What does the challenge to holiness look and feel like in your life at the moment?
  4.  John the Baptist gives Jesus one of the earliest and most important titles which we still use today: the Lamb of God. A lamb in the Old Testament was sacrificed in the temple and became an offering which received forgiveness of sins by God. Jesus replaced the ‘lambs’ that were sacrificed at each Jewish Passover. On the cross Jesus becomes ‘the sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world’. Have you allowed the great event of the Cross to become personal for you? Imagine an event happens that ‘takes away all your sins’. What would your response be?
  5. John witnessed that he had seen the spirit come down and remain on Jesus. Who do you recognise as someone ‘spirit filled’ and alive with the presence of God? What do you admire or feel attracted toward by their life? How does their life ‘prepare’ the way for you to draw closer to God?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download 31st Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. The prophet Malachi was writing to his community. They had been allowed to return home from exile. They had even received financial help to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. And yet religious practice and faithfulness was at an ‘all-time-low’. He turns his attention to the Priests. They were responsible for the spiritual leadership of the community and were not ‘listening’ or keeping the laws ‘in their heart’, ‘not instructing people properly in ‘the way’. In the final verse Malachi also turns to those who ‘intermarried’. He interpreted this as weakening God’s family and introducing other God’s into the family – a breaking of the ‘covenant’. What would you suggest today is the source of decline in ‘religious practice’?
  2. St Paul, while traveling far and wide as a missionary, continued his trade as a ‘Tent maker’. He worked ‘night and day’ so as not to burden anyone. While they missed him, Paul pointed to the true source of their growth ‘the word of God at work in you’. How could you spend more time with the ‘Word of God’. Who could help you?
  3. The word ‘Pharisee’ means ‘set apart’ or ‘separate’. They were lay men (not priests who worked in the Temple or scribes who were ‘scripture scholars’ and experts in the law). In Jesus’ time the Pharisees believed the ‘laws’ were not being lived perfectly and the temple priests and Religious Leaders were too comfortable with Roman authorities. When Matthew’s Gospel was written, the Jerusalem Temple had been destroyed. Pharisees were now more public in their leadership – even being referred to as ‘Rabbi’ – teacher. Jesus continues his critique of religious leaders being ‘hypocritical’. Literally ‘two faces – actor’. Preaching and practice must go together. Is there any  areas of your life where you are ‘acting’? Wearing ‘two faces’?
  4. Jesus reminds his disciples and the Church today to not follow the Pharisees or scribes. Be an example to follow. Interpret laws sensitively so as not to load heavy burdens. Be alongside to shoulder the weight of discipleship. Do not seek glory or status. Point toward God (not self) as the true teacher.  What aspect of Jesus’ leadership challenge speaks personally to you?
  5. ‘Father’ was a term of special respect given to ‘elders’ and special deceased persons. To call no one on earth your ‘Father’ or ‘Master’ is Jesus telling the community – and its leaders – not to ‘chase’ titles and public recognition. Service and humility are to be the trademarks of the Christian community. Is there an attitude of ‘seeking’ rather than ‘service’ in your ministry? How could you show respect to leaders and also develop a culture of equality and expectation of ‘leading by example’ in your community? Is a humble word of correction to a leader friend needed?
  6. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?



Download Document: 8th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Question 3: Trust in God is a consistent theme in the scripture readings this week. Jesus brushes away many small arguments and gets to the core issue: you cannot be the slave of God and money (mammon was a Hebrew word referring to property or anything of value, its modern translation has become ‘money’). Trust and Worry are connected. What we worry about reveals what we secretly trust in. What would you list as your top 3 worries? What do they ‘reveal’ about you? What do you think of Jesus’ 3 arguments against ‘worry’?

Download: Baptism of the Lord

Reflection Question 2: The Isaiah reading today is the first of four ‘suffering servant’ passages. They point to the mission of Jesus and to our personal mission and identity given in Baptism. Can you identify with the cause of making justice victorious? Being a ‘sign’ and ‘covenant’ of the relationship that God has with the world? Does your life truly show itself as a ‘light’ for all to see? Do your words and actions bring a transformation into people’s lives who live in darkness of ignorance and lack of love, imprisoned and hurt by life? Do you identify with this personal mission and the mission of the Church?