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Posts Tagged ‘Light to the Gentiles’

Download Reflection Document 3rd Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. The Prophet Isaiah remarks that the land called ‘District of the Gentiles’ (the area around the sea of Galilee) will see ‘a great light’. Imagine a small narrow road linking one part of the world with the other. This is the ‘Holy Land’ (Israel). It was a very busy trading route. Consequently there were many ‘foreigners’. For Jewish people it sometimes felt like a curse. However in God’s plan the light shines brighter in the darkness. Have you ever experienced being lost in darkness and then helped by a light? What happened. What is Isaiah trying to teach us about God?
  2. St Paul continues his writing to the people of Corinth. He is upset that their witness and service to Christ has turned towards arguments rather than charity. Have you ever felt a group of people wanting you to ‘belong’ to ‘their idea’? Have you had an experience of ‘division’ in the community or workplace or parish, people claiming the same purpose but not united in ‘mind’? Did you seek to understand ‘both sides’ and seek unity, or, did you grow division?
  3. Today in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus leaves his home town of Nazareth and arrives in Galilee. Fulfilling the 1st Reading prophecy of Isaiah, Jesus spends most of his 3 years of public ministry between 3 towns in Galilee. As the new year begins do you feel it is time to leave your ‘Nazareth’, your place of comfort, and enter ‘Galilee’ to undertake a new challenge? How could you be a light to ‘people who sit in darkness’? Those overshadowed by death, sickness, sadnees?
  4. In the time of Jesus, the phrase Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God were special. Everyone was waiting for the time when God would finally overcome the power of evil. Essentially Jesus begins preaching a ‘wake up’ call: ‘change your mind (repent), take notice, God is now showing victory over evil! This is the good news. Have you ever noticed Jesus both preaches and heals. Words and actions go together. How does your life bring the kingdom of heaven and contribute to the overcoming of evil? Is your faith words and actions?
  5. Fishing was the main industry around the sea of Galilee. Peter, Andrew, James and John were probably not ‘poor’. Boats, nets, family, work colleagues, commitments and bank accounts are significant for them (and us!). Yet they are placed second to Jesus’ invitation to follow. Is the presence of your life curing and comforting (disease and illness?) or comfortable and callous? If you had to write a sentence of what you thought God would personally like you to do / be, what would you write?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Reflections Questions

  1. The Feast of the Presentation is an ancient festival of the early Christian community in Jerusalem that can be traced back to writings in the years 300AD. A special part of the celebration was the lighting of candles to celebrate Jesus being ‘presented in the Temple’ as the ‘light to enlighten the Gentiles’ (Luke 2:32). Today many parishes have a special ceremony of blessing prayer candles, baptismal candles. Religious renew their vows and consecration. Some countries also have the custom of blessing new mothers re-enacting the blessing of Mary presenting her child in the Temple.
  2. The Prophet Malachi (meaning My Messenger) is an interesting prophet as he speaks to a community that has a beautiful and newly re-built Temple in Jerusalem, but the Priests and the People are ‘lax’ and not celebrating and worshipping with much effort. What does the image of a ‘refiners fire’ and a special ingredient to cleanse and make ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ pure mean for you?
  3. ‘Free from the fear of death’ is a special phrase. Fearful of death, so many people worship the body and the world and live as if this is all that there is. As a consequence they are subject to ‘slavery all their life’. The ‘flesh’ (sensual pleasure) and the spirit of the ‘world’ (greed) trap people. How might the ‘fear of death’ trap you? Knowing of eternal life, what is there really to fear? What is your response?
  4.  According to Jewish custom, mothers were required to be ritually purified 40 days after birth. As part of the ceremony of cleansing and new life two offerings were made. A Lamb and a dove / pigeon. If the family were poor they could offer two doves / pigeons. It is recognised that Mary and Joseph offered two birds which is evidence that they were ‘poor’. It is also recognised that a further sacrifice could be offered to ‘buy back’ the first born from God. Mary and Joseph did not do this. As a parent do you offer your children to God and help them seek God, or do you ‘buy them back’ and direct them only in the ways of the world?
  5.  The great moment foretold by the Prophet Malachi of God coming into the Temple (his home) is only acknowledged by a faithful few. The repetition of the ‘Holy Spirit’ reminds us that it is really the ‘Spirit’ that helps us see and understand God. If you were to say to someone ‘my favour rests on you’ what would that mean for you? Do you recognise at baptism that the spirit ‘rests on you’ and God ‘favours’ you?
  6.  What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?