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Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

Printable Guide and Questions are HERE

Reflection Questions

Image result for MatthewJesus acknowledges us before God

  1. Jeremiah expresses total confidence that the Lord will protect him even though he is in a volatile situation where even one-time friends are out to trip him up. Have you ever felt trapped and surrounded by difficulties out of your control? How did you relate with God through that time?
  2. How hard is it for you to ‘trust your cause’ to God like Jeremiah? What do you need to be able to move from knowledge about faith to faith in a warm honest deep relationship in which you experience of love, power, mercy and justice of God at ‘gut’ level in your life? Try praying the prayer of Jeremiah and keep a record of how God works in your situation.
  3. In Romans 5 Paul explains why the revelation of Jesus means God can be utterly trusted. Because he put his love on the line by sending Jesus to rescue us when we were trapped in sin and separated from God. Sin entered the world and because of sin we struggle with trials, difficulties, addictions and disordered desires and relationships with people and creation in a myriad of ways.
    But just as one person caused the problem, Jesus – true God and true Man- overcame sin not simply for himself but for many. That is the essence of the Good News. While we were trapped in sin, Jesus came to set us free. It is a gift to be accepted and opened. What aspect of your life do you struggle most with? Ask Jesus to give you the grace for what you need to be set free in that area today.
  4. Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid of them.” It takes enormous freedom to live without fear of others. Only by trusting in the absoluteness of Gods power and care is it truly possible. Jesus asks us to recognize our worth – we are so precious to God that every hair on our head has been counted and even a sparrow is known to God. What does the imagery tell you about how attentive God is to you? Do you truly know how much God values you? Look at yourself in a mirror and sense God saying, every hair on your head is counted. Pray to embrace the worth God sees in you.
  5. Who is the only “One” who can destroy both soul and body? To fear God can be misconstrued. What do you think Jesus means when he says to ‘fear’ God rather than anyone else? Gehenna is a Greek word for hell. It was the name given to a burning dump outside Jerusalem which came to represent final punishment. The Gospel tells us that anyone who acknowledges Jesus before others will be acknowledged by Jesus before the Father. How do you feel knowing that Jesus is speaking up for you and your needs and will do so at the final judgment?
  6. Scripture repeats, ‘Do not be afraid’, many times. God understands our human tendency to fear and wants us to surrender our whole life in trust to God.
  7. What at is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Discussion Guide for “Is He Your King?” Feast of Christ the King 2017, 

Image result for christ the servant king

Reflection Questions

.The Feast of Christ the King was created by Pope Pius XI in 1925 responding to the ills of the time: The
Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, spread of facism, Church’s loss of political power, decadence of 1920’s. Instead of simply writing a Church document which are read by only a few, Pius XIrecognised a ‘Feast’ of  the Church would be celebrated by the whole Church every year and speak not only to the mind but also to the heart. At first it was celebrated at the end of October but it now rests at the very end of the Liturgical year to enhance the experience of meeting Christ at the ‘end of time’.

• In a farming culture, the image of a Shepherd and Sheep was extremely special. Israel saw it as an image of God looking after them. Ezekiel uses this image and creates a picture of what God ‘will’ do (11 times!). Tend. Rescue. Pasture. Rest. Seek out. Bring back. Bind up. Heal. Destroy. Judge. What word  speaks more to your life at the moment? Have you experienced a call to shepherd others?

•St Paul provides an image of the vital role the Church plays in history today. The ‘absence’ of Christ after his resurrection and our waiting for his final ‘return’ actually involves Christ working through the witness and works of the Church. Through our following ‘the way of Christ’ various powers and authorities are
‘overcome’ so that everything will eventually fall ‘under his feet’. What powers and sovereignties do you see at work in the world today which require christians to do ‘battle’?

• The Gospel of Matthew this year finishes with the scene of the Final Judgement. Interestingly, the final
scene refers to something going on ‘now’. It is a judgement according to ‘works’ and ‘care of the poor’ (not faith and attendance at Mass). If you knew life’s final exam question for entry to heaven and it required showing ‘practical experience of care of the poor’ what would you do? Are you doing it ‘now’? Does the final question of life shock or surprise you? Matthew is pointing, finally, to Jesus’ command
to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. Is your love truly extending to your neighbour in need?

• Separating sheep (honorable) from goats (shameful) was a daily ‘end of the day’ task for shepherds. Goats were not as strong and did not manage the cold. Goats allowed male goats to access other female goats which was also considered a shameful behaviour. An honorable life is a ‘righteous’ life – where we show by our actions a care for those in need.  Interestingly, the title ‘righteous’ was a title given by the poor to those who helped them. At the end of time wouldany of the ‘poor’ stand in your defence and give you the title ‘righteous’?

• What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week and serve your servant King?

web: www.livingtheword.org.nz e-mail: contact@livingtheword.org.nz

 

Download 3rd Sunday Lent Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. In the Lenten journey, God offers Moses a sacred meeting in the desert. God attracts Moses with the burning bush and gives Moses the Divine Name – I AM WHO I AM (translated in Hebrew Yaweh). When someone shares their name with you what does this mean? How have you encountered God so far during Lent?
  2.  When we listen to God we face a similar choice to Moses: take on the role of passive spectator OR assume the role of a history making change agent. Moses shared with God that he felt too weak and unable to talk properly. God told Moses to get Aaron to help him. What challenging invitation has God shared with you lately? Who might you ask to help you be obedient to fulfilling Godʼs will?
  3. The Corinthian community was becoming comfortable. They assumed that receiving Baptism and celebrating Eucharist was all one needed to be ʻsavedʼ. St Paul reminds them of the dangers of ʻpresuming salvationʼ. Our Hebrew ancestors did this and theyʻwere struck down in the desertʼ. This is a warning we need to continually try to cooperate with God. Are you feeling ʻcomfortableʼ in your faith? What lifestyle choice or action could you make to show a radical following of Jesus?
  4. The theme of Godʼs judgment enters the Luke Gospel passage for Lent. Pilate had killed religious revolutionaries from Galilee while they were offering sacrifices to God in the temple and this event was compared to a tower falling over near the Temple (pool of Siloam) killing 18 people. They asked Jesus if these people were sinners and God was punishing them. Jesus provides a shocking answer. We are all going to die and receive judgment before God. It is urgent and your first concern to be found ʻreadyʼ. Are you ready to die? Why not?
  5. The fig tree is a symbol of the promised Land and is the only tree mentioned in the garden of Eden. It was symbolic of the blessings of God. The fig and olive trees were also symbols of God’s people. In this parable Jesus invites the listener to be ʻthe fig treeʼ. Interestingly, it normally took about 3 years for a fig tree to bear fruit. The first year of fruit was then given to God at the Temple. Can you sense the urgency on waiting for the fig tree ‘to bear fruit’? After waiting 3 years a logical and good farmer would cut it down. It is wasting soil. And it would be another 3 years ‘waiting’ for fruit. By Godʼs mercy it is allowed 1 more year – but the fig tree is still ʻunder judgmentʼ. Consider if you were given the ʻgift of another yearʼ before meeting God and being ‘fruitful’.
  6. In ancient times people thought natural disaster was God punishing people for ‘sin’ and wrong doing. Jesus says God does not operate this way. Jesus shares the importance of people moving away from sin and unhelpful patterns of guilt and blame. Repent means literally ‘to turn your life around’. What would you like to turn ‘from’ and ‘to’?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download 33rd Sunday 

Reflection Questions

  1. The Prophet Malachi is upset. Israel has returned from exile, the Temple has been rebuilt, the liturgy is celebrated, and yet the rich are increasingly hurting the poor. He did not expect Israel to be like this. One writer expresses it this way: I know what living for God looks like on ʻSundayʼ, but what does it look like on ʻMondayʼ? How do you integrate ʻliturgyʼ with ʻlifeʼ? How does Sunday talk with Monday in your life?
  2. Malachi shares a judgment scene that we will witness at the end of days. There will be a reversal of fortunes for many. How do you understand and interpret ʻyou who fear my nameʼ. Can you identify fearing someone who loves you greatly? What does it positively cause you to do?
  3. Paul continues his letter to the Thessalonians. Some disciples were so convinced the ʻDay of the Lordʼ had arrived that they actually retired early! Unfortunately they became ʻarmchairʼ critics of others and a ʻburdenʼ. They focussed on the shortcomings of others rather than the ʻcoming of the Lordʼ. Within the Church community, is your energy focussed on being ʻcriticalʼ of others? How could your energy be turned toward focussing on Jesus?
  4. When will the final day arrive is a big question. Jesus and the Gospel writers do not give an answer to ʻwhenʼ but only ʻthatʼ it will happen. The Gospel of Luke challenges us to be ready for the last day. In the time of writing the Gospel of Luke the community had already witnessed Jewish persecution causing many to leave Jerusalem. Many disciples ended up in Rome and were also persecuted there (60AD). The beautiful Jewish temple was totally destroyed (as Jesus predicted) in Jerusalem (70AD). Further persecution occurred at the order of Domitian (80AD). Under such difficult times, apocalyptic writing gave disciples hope that there will be a final victory of good over evil. However this involves a challenge that we are to make good moral choices ʻpersonallyʼ and ʻnowʼ. What words in the gospel give you ʻhopeʼ. What words challenge you deeply? Do you consider yourself ʻreadyʼ?
  5. Contemporary society does not face many of us with such obvious persecution as the early christians experienced. Some writers suggest we are no longer faced with a ʻredʼ (blood) martyrdom, but a ʻwhiteʼ (perseverance) martyrdom. What would a ʻmodernʼ synagouge or prison be? How do you experience christians being taunted, threatened, influenced away from Christ? What does it mean to ʻgive testimonyʼ because of ʻmy nameʼ?
  6. Next week is the final week of the liturgical year celebrated by the Feast of Christ The King. We liturgically celebrate ʻas if it was the ʻend of timeʼ! Imagine the urgency of having only a few weeks to live. How would you live? What would you consider is most important to do? What would be demanded of you in your spiritual life? What do you need to ʻdoʼ?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download Feast of Christ the King

Reflection Questions

  1. The Feast of Christ the King was created by Pope Pius XI in 1925 responding to the ills of the time: The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, spread of facism, Church’s loss of political power, decadence of 1920’s. Instead of simply writing a Church document which are read by only a few, Pius XI recognised a ‘Feast’ of the Church would be celebrated by the whole Church every year and speak not only to the mind but also to the heart. At first it was celebrated at the end of October but it now rests at the very end of the Liturgical year to enhance the experience of meeting Christ at the ‘end of time’.
  2. In a farming culture, the image of a Shepherd and Sheep was extremely special. Israel saw it as an image of God looking after them. Ezekiel uses this image and creates a picture of what God ‘will’ do (11 times!). Tend. Rescue. Pasture. Rest. Seek out. Bring back. Bind up. Heal. Destroy. Judge. What word speaks more to your life at the moment? Have you experienced a call to shepherd others?
  3. St Paul provides an image of the vital role the Church plays in history today. The ‘absence’ of Christ after his resurrection and our waiting for his final ‘return’ actually involves Christ working through the witness and works of the Church. Through our following ‘the way of Christ’ various powers and authorities are ‘overcome’ so that everything will eventually fall ‘under his feet’. What powers and sovereignties do you see at work in the world today which require christians to do ‘battle’?
  4. The Gospel of Matthew this year finishes with the scene of the Final Judgement. Interestingly, the final scene refers to something going on ‘now’. It is a judgement according to ‘works’ and ‘care of the poor’ (not faith and attendance at Mass). If you knew life’s final exam question for entry to heaven and it required showing ‘practical experience of care of the poor’ what would you do? Are you doing it ‘now’? Does the final question of life shock or surprise you? Matthew is pointing, finally, to Jesus’ command to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. Is your love truly extending to your neighbour in need?
  5. Separating sheep (honorable) from goats (shameful) was a daily ‘end of the day’ task for shepherds. Goats were not as strong and did not manage the cold. Goats allowed male goats to access other female goats which was also considered a shameful behaviour. An honorable life is a ‘righteous’ life – where we show by our actions a care for those in need. Interestingly, the title ‘righteous’ was a title given by the poor to those who helped them. At the end of time would any of the ‘poor’ stand in your defence and give you the title ‘righteous’?
  6. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?

 

Download: 5th Sunday Lent of Year C

Reflection question 5: Sexual sin is personal, embarassing, and can be a guilt ridden experience. Everyone expected ‘judgment’ of the woman but Jesus lead everyone into ‘enlightenment’. Consider your personal struggle with human weakness. Instead of judgment, consider what you are ‘learning’ about yourself? How could you move from guilt toward wisdom in this area of your life?

  • Please note. 2010 involves Year C readings on Sunday. However during Lent for the purpose of teaching the candidates who are going to be baptised at Easter you may find your parish using different readings (Year A for a few Sundays). To view the Year A Readings follow this link