God has actually spoken

The scripture readings for Sunday are a great starting point to start listening

more

It's more enjoyable with others

There are some simple and effective ways to share scripture in homes, cafes, parishes

more

Let's walk the talk

Prayer becomes lived out when we make decisions and lifestyle commitments

more

Sign up for email notifications

Or follow us via Twitter, facebook, RSS and more

more

Posts Tagged ‘letter to the Hebrews’

Download 19th Sunday Yr C

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Wisdom was written to help Jews life faithfully in the midst of the big and unbelieving city of Alexandria. The strong Greek culture, pagan worship, and completely different view on life caused many Alexandrian Jews to have a crisis of faith. The writer encourages them to have courage in the ʻoaths in which they put their faithʼ and to live according to the divine commands given by God. What is your biggest struggle in living in a secular society? What particular belief, knowledge or practice is at the source of your courage to keep ʻfaithfulʼ?
  2. The Letter to the Hebrews is the 2nd reading for the next 4 weeks. It is a letter written to ʻHebrewsʼ to help them understand how their Old Testament worship has now been completed and overtaken by the Cross of Christ. Abraham is inspirational as a model of ʻfaithʼ. He left home not knowing where he was going, actively stepped out and searched for Land, slept with his sterile wife Sarah trusting in a child. It would have been easy to sit on the couch waiting for Godʼs promises. Abraham reminds us to participate. Are their areas in your life where you need to participate more with God? What is the next step?
  3. Luke continues to develop a theme of Jesusʼ teachings on wealth and greed. Building a bigger barn to house more grain was considered foolish – it signalled a decision to move from having ʻenoughʼ to having ʻluxuryʼ, total sensual satisfaction combined with a blindness to those who do not have ʻenoughʼ to eat and drink. Have you considered moving from ʻhoping to be generousʼ to a decision ʻto be generousʼ? Opening up a ʻGod bank accountʼ? Asking your priest or friends who is in need in your local area?
  4. The invitation to sell your belongings and give alms is for Luke a decision to live a very different lifestyle. To throw away all plans of greed and self centeredness and live simply so others may simply ʻliveʼ. How you ever considered voluntary poverty and simplicity of life so that resources may be shared for others? Is there a life-style choice that you could make this week to live this invitation?
  5. The Christian community is recognising Jesusʼ return is not coming immediately. The parable shares an image. Disciples are to understand themselves as ʻcare- takersʼ charged with the task of ʻfood distributionʼ. Attending to this task determines where believers will spend eternity! Did you know 1 billion people are hungry every day? Ever thought of dropping off food to a ʻfood bankʼ or starting a collection in your parish?
  6. If entry into heaven was based on a quiz, and you knew the answers before-hand, would you practise the answers? If we are to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, comfort the sick and lost – and we know this is the ʻmasters willʼ – would we be found ʻreadyʼ? Do we fear not being found ready…. are we in for a ʻsevere beatingʼ?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be  ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download 4th Sunday Advent Yr C

Reflection Questions

  1. As Christmas arrives, special passages of scripture are used to guide our understanding of Christmas. This Sunday is the only time that the Prophet Micah is used for our Sunday Readings. A prophecy 700 years before Jesus points to the little town of Bethlehem, famous as it was the home of Jesse, King David’s Father. It was from this royal line the Messiah would arrive. Ephrathah was a little and insignificant ‘clan / tribe’. Consider for a moment just how extraordinary is God’s power to guide history and prophecy to fulfillment. How might this help you ‘trust’ in God?
  2. The Letter to the Hebrews teaches about the significance of Jesus. Holocausts, sin offerings and sacrifices were experiences of Jewish worship in the Temple that were to bring people into union with God ‘according to the law’. Jesus is shown as following the will of God and bringing forgiveness and union with God ‘through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ on the cross. Why Jesus has come among us is pointed out. Do you keep Christmas separated from Easter? Have you noticed cards and decorations easily identify with the joy of a new-born child and the hope of ‘peace’ but prefer to leave out the next step of the sacrifices involved in ‘I come to do your will, O God?’ What is the will of God inviting you to do?’
  3. This gospel scene of Mary ‘visiting’ Elizabeth aims to show us more than the greeting of two expectant mothers or that Mary is a caring young woman to her older cousin. Behind this scene are layers of stories. Mary, a ‘new mother’ (New testament) stands before Elizabeth an ‘old mother’ (Old Testament). Behind Elizabeth is her husband, Zechariah the High Priest of the (old) Temple. Within the Temple rests the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ where the 10 commandments were kept housed in a special box (Ark) called the ‘Mercy Seat’. Mary bears within her the Saviour child ‘God-is-with-us’ and is now the New Ark of the New Covenant. The little boy John the Baptist leaps for joy within the womb of Elizabeth like King David leapt for joy and danced before the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam 6,14). The deepest and true response to God being ‘enfleshed’ among us is to ‘leap for joy’. When was the last time you ‘leapt for joy’? Why is little baby John ‘leaping for joy’? How could you show the experience of joy more this Christmas?
  4. The gospel of Luke focusses upon Mary who always acts on what she hears. Her ‘visit’ to Elizabeth is a ‘response’ to hearing God’s voice (through the angel). Mary is ‘blessed’ but firstly it is because she ‘believed what was spoken to her’. Christmas becomes no longer simply an historical story for us when we recognise we too are called to allow the ‘Word’ to become ‘Flesh’. Today. Now. In the world. What words have you heard from God, in prayer, through others. How could you act on them so that they become ‘flesh’? Real? Acted out? Bring God’s presence? What words or promises have you made that have not been fulfilled?
  5. Advent is a time of joyful preparation. In the final days before Christmas how could you achieve a balance: writing Christmas Cards and the Call to Conversion. Christmas Parties and Prayerful Preparation. Christmas Presents and Christmas Presence?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

 

 

Download Reflection 32nd Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. Behind the scenes of the first reading is a show of strength by God (Yahweh) over the worshippers of Baal (the god of fertility, rain, nature). Ahaz, the King of Israel, married Jezebel, allowed her to import her Baal priests and eventually she attempted to convert everyone to Baal worship. Elijah showed Gods strength by killing the priests of Baal and then proclaiming a drought as punishment on the land and teaching them that Yahweh is more powerful than Baal. Elijah himself has become hungry and thirsty. God tells him to go to Zarephath. This town was ‘enemy’ territory as it was the home of Jezebel’s Father! He would be met by a woman who would help him. A widow is on her last meal and desperate for survival. Open to God and showing hospitality she responds to Elijah. Her response is blessed by God…. ‘she was able to eat for a year…..’ Imagine this scene. Reflect on the obedience and trust of both Elijah and the Widow. Do you trust God? How could you show it?
  2. The Letter to the Hebrews paints a picture of the special Feast of Atonement described in Lev 16. The Priest would take blood into the Tent (Holy of Holies) and cover the mercy seat with blood to represent forgiveness of sins. The Priest would then appear at the entrance to the tent and announce forgiveness. Jesus has entered not a ‘tent’ but ‘heaven’ and his own blood has been offered as a ‘sacrifice to take away sin’. He will return – not to take away sin – but to welcome all those who eagerly await him. Do you look forward to Jesus’ second coming? Does Sunday Mass give you an experience of ‘salvation’ ‘at-one-ment’ where the Priest is holding up the gift of our reconciliation and communion with God?
  3. Scribes were experts at knowing and interpreting the religious laws of the Jewish People. When a Husband died, a widow was vulnerable and often without support if a ‘brother in law’ did not choose to marry her. With few legal rights, scribes at times became care-takers of widows property. They were supposed to protect the vulnerable but often ‘devoured’ the house and property of widows charging a commission for their services. At the same time they pretended to be ‘holy’ and continued to wear their temple garb into the streets to attract attention. Jesus does not condemn the role of someone interpreting the laws but invites authenticity. Who today is a modern ‘widow’ – vulnerable and in need of care? In what ways would Jesus’ words challenge the Church, Priests, Theologians, Lawyers, Politicians?
  4. The ‘treasury’ was 13 trumpet shaped containers that collected the coins, tithes and contributions of people at the Temple. A poor widow places all she has, in contrast to rich people giving to God something of their surplus. Love of God and Love of Neighbour will actually look like something. Is God honored by laws, lengthy prayers, long robes, large sums…. or the complete total trust and surrender of the poor widow with her 2 cents?
  5. Jesus now leaves the Temple and walks toward the event of his total and complete self-giving to the Father for the salvation of the world. Like the widows in the readings today he will ‘hold nothing back’ from God. How could you make a further step to give all that you are and have to God?
  6. 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 22nd Sunday Yr C

Reflection Question 5: Jesus reverses everything that was considered socially and religiously ‘correct’. The poor, crippled, lame, blind were excluded from the priesthood and some claimed they were not eligible to participate in the heavenly banquet. The Kingdom of God revealed by Jesus is there is a great reversal about to take place. Notice the extreme nature of Jesus’ challenge. He doesn’t say give money to the poor, give some volunteer service hours to the poor, but ‘invite them into your home, to sit at table and eat together’! To enter into a relationship that goes beyond ‘charity’. Examine your life-style and ‘time-style’. Who do you include? Exclude? Why? How could you bring about the ‘great reversal’ of the Kingdom of God in your family, workplace, church community?

Enjoy and Share