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Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

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 Reflection Document

Reflection Questions

  1. The Exodus story teaches us of our covenant relationship with God. Each time the people grumbled, Moses prayed to God, and God responded faithfully to his covenant love commitment. Remembering the first reading is chosen to highlight the Gospel reading, John 6 and Exodus are both reflecting on the meaning of the Jewish ‘Passover’. The treasured memory of God feeding his people with ‘manna’ (literally from the word ‘man hu’ meaning ‘what is this?’) was an essential part of the passover celebration. Rather ungratefully, God’s people continually grumbled. Do I grumble frequently against ‘Moses and Aaron…..’ How could I speak words of ‘affirmation’? How could I practice gratefulness for the ‘daily feeding’ by God of every gift and blessing?
  2. Parts of the Letter to the Ephesians are prayers used at Baptism in the early church community. A colorful image is pointed to in the Baptism ceremony. In ancient times one’s clothing was considered part of oneself. In the ceremony you took off your old clothes and put on a new white garment. Your old self was put aside. Your new self is the life of Christ. Your new life-style is as a citizen of Heaven not a citizen of Rome. How could you show Righteousness, Holiness and Truth more in your life? Amongst your family? At work?
  3. Last week we began 5 weeks of hearing the Gospel of John chapter 6. It is important to notice the context of John 6. The famous ʻbread of lifeʼ passage is the second of three passover celebrations in the Gospel of John. At each passover, Jesus replaces the passover with his own ʻbodyʼ (see John 2, 6, 19). Last week the crowd tried to take Jesus away to make him ʻKingʼ because there was a Jewish expectation (2 Baruch 29:3,18) that there would be a miraculous feeding of bread from heaven which would reveal the promised Messiah. Jesus comments to the crowd, they are only looking and working for ʻfoodʼ to fill their bellies. He promises something greater. Can you understand what Jesus is doing when he claims he is the ʻSon of Manʼ, the one on whom the Father, God, has ʻset his sealʼ? What does it mean if you ʻset your sealʼ upon your letter, object…?
  4. The crowd asks for proof from Jesus that he is ʻbetterʼ than Moses who fed Israel with ʻmannaʼ in the desert. Jesus responds using a very important phrase: ʻI AM the bread of Lifeʼ. I AM is the divine name given by God to Moses in Ex 3,16. Jesus reminds the crowd that it was God not Moses who fed his people, and in fact, I AM is standing right in front of you.
  5. The Gospel of John often requires the reader to step down into deeper levels of meaning. Never hungry and never thirsty recognises a physical ʻhungerʼ and invites the reader to recognise a deeper spiritual hunger and thirst for life. Beyond feeding your body and satisfying your thirst, what do you really live for? What is ʻlifeʼ for?
  6. Many people came seeking Jesus but they did not want to follow him. Jesus will soon make the connection that He is and will become the ʻbread of Godʼ from Heaven which gives life. He will do this with the gift of his ʻBodyʼ and his ʻBloodʼ on the cross which will be received in the celebration of the Mass John 6, 55. Do you ʻseeʼ that you truly receive Jesus at Mass? Do you ʻseekʼ AND ʻfollowʼ Jesus?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

 

 

Please Note. During the Season of Lent special readings are chosen for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent to teach important aspects of the Christian life to help those preparing for Baptism at Easter. livingtheword will share and reflect on those readings to help parishes with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

Download Reflection 3rd Sunday Lent Document

View 3rd Sunday Lent Yr B Readings only 

Reflection Questions

  1. The symbol of ‘water’ has different levels of meaning. It can represent life keeping us from death. Water can be symbolic of a life journey yearning for something more. In Exodus, Moses is in the midst of leading his people who feel like they are ‘dying of thirst’ and they blame him. God invites him to go away from all the moaning voices, taking only a few elders with him. Which part of the story does your life and lent journey identify with at the moment: Water. Thirst. Moaning. Crying. Going away from voices. Quarreling. Testing. Questioning?
  2. Paul continues the important teaching of being made ‘right’ with God. It is not our doing, but faith in the cross of Jesus. This brings peace in our heart and spirit. And we look forward in hope to heaven and the final victory. Have you ever given a gift to someone whose behaviour has not yet changed to show they are ‘worthy’ or ‘thankful’? Why do it? There is the hope that the person may ‘see’ the depth of your love. What does it mean that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners?
  3. Week 3, 4, 5 of Lent features Gospel of John readings. These are specially inserted for helping people preparing for Baptism at Easter. They contain powerful symbols of water (quenching our thirst), light (a blind man sees) and the gift of life (raising Lazarus from death). Reflect on the image of sitting in the heat of the midday sun beside a well. What would you feel? Think about? Do? What questions would you ask Jesus? Spend 5 minutes imaginatively praying into this scene. What happened?
  4. It was unusual for a woman to collect water in the heat of the day alone. The longer gospel text reveals she has had 5 ‘husbands’. It is possible she has been hurt by the gossip of other women. Her journey is our journey. Which part of the journey of the Samaritan woman can you identify with?
  5. Jesus breaks the social barriers of talking with a woman alone, and with a despised enemy (Jews do not associate with Samaritans). Jesus sits with her, talks, asks for help, offers her life that will quench her ‘thirst’ forever. A ‘rejected outsider’ becomes a disciple and the only person to evangelise a whole community in the gospel of John! She now rushes to the market place full of men to tell them the good news of meeting Jesus. Deep hopes have been fulfilled. Does your relationship with Jesus show itself others?
  6. The woman at the well reveals a disciples learning. Jesus is first thought a ‘prophet’, then possibly the ‘Messiah’ and then indeed ‘truly the ‘Savior of the world’. Hidden in the text is Jesus saying ‘I AM..’ This is the Divine Name – the name Jews gave to God (Ex 3,14). What does this mean? What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ 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 Feast of Body and Blood

Reflection Questions

  1. The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) began as a response to increased devotion to the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the 12th Century. This led to a desire to ‘see’, Jesus in the consecrated elements. In 1220 in Paris the practice of elevating the host began.
  2. God’s journey with his people in the desert involved difficulties but also God’s providence and care. You were hungry and I fed you with manna – ‘a food unknown to you’. (See Ex 16). Providing food is a basic expression of care for your children. It creates a bond. And yet they soon grew tired of this ‘manna’. It became taken for granted. How could you reawaken a deeper sense of appreciation for God feeding us with the Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus at mass? Is it ‘normal’ or ‘special’? How?
  3. There were many temples in the city of Corinth. It was ‘normal’ to take food and offer it to various ‘god’s and pledge allegiance to them. St Paul writes this is not to happen with christians. At the sacred meal (Eucharist) we participate in and receive the blood of Christ and the body of Christ. It is not right to then join your body with worship to other ‘altars’ and ‘demons’ (1Cor 10,21). Is my communion with Jesus real or superficial? Does my life-style show I have many ‘gods’ and ‘altars’ that I worship at? What change and purification may be necessary in my life?
  4. Moses was greatly revered for ‘feeding’ people with bread from heaven (1st Reading). Jesus now replaces Moses and this ‘event’ with his body. ‘Heavenly Bread’ is now replaced with ‘flesh’. It is no accident that the words flesh and blood are repeated 10 times in this text. How can this man give us his flesh to eat is a question that leads to layers of questions. Is Jesus a ‘man’ or the Divine Son of God? Is the real question ‘how’ can this happen or ‘who’ is making this promise? Do you believe in these words? This promise? What the Mass brings into the life of the world and the Church and offers personally to you?
  5. Meditate / reflect on these scriptural lines and allow a conversation to begin with God.
  • The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world….
  • My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink….
  • Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you….
  • Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them….

6.Is your experience of the Eucharist one of looking, sitting, getting or becoming? Does it progress from Sunday into Monday…?

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

 

Download 29th Sunday 

Reflection Questions

  1. The Amelekites were a constant threat to the peaceful settlement of Godʼs people in the promised land. The battle scene is describing a theological point. Other countries made political and military alliances. Israel was to rely on God. And prayer works! What does the phrase ʻkeeping your hands raised upʼ mean for you? Have you asked anyone to pray to God for your protection? Can you remember an experience where you recognised the power of prayer?
  2. Moses, the leader of Godʼs people is getting tired. He needs Aaron and Hur to support his hands. Who do you recognise as a spiritual leader and guide for you? What support could you offer? Joshua was out fighting in the field. Aaron was being trained as a leader at the side of Moses. Hur is a hidden and unknown figure behind the scenes. Which character do you identify with? What is the next step for you in public leadership in the Church?
  3. It is not intellectual proofs of God that convince people, but witnesses. St Paul reminds Timothy of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2Tim 1,5) who taught and witnessed faith to him from his infancy. Who has been a great faith witness to you from your infancy?
  4. Scripture is inspired by God – literally ʻGod breathed! – and is able to continually inspire, encourage and challenge in a living way at every reading. Can you remember an experience when the word made you uncomfortable? Convinced you about some teaching? Challenged you deeply? Encouraged and comforted you?
  5. Jesus paints a picture of a ʻmeanʼ judge who does not listen or care about anyone. Jesus is saying that God is NOT like this judge. Evil as the judge is, he responds to the persistent prayer and is fearful of the widow who will (in Greek) ʻstrike me and give me a black eyeʼ! Jesus encourages us. God is not someone who we need to ʻwear downʼ by our constant prayer. We are to trust in God as a loving parent. Have you moved from ʻpraying with lots of wordsʼ to ʻpraying with lots of silenceʼ? What does the image of a baby silent in a parents arms symbolise for you?
  6. Widows were not allowed to inherit their husbands property. If without family they had no one to care or look after them. Judges were to ensure widows, orphans and ʻaliensʼ (foreigners) were looked after. This widow is obviously raising her voice to demand justice. She will not sit down, feel powerless, reduce herself to being broken and afraid. Silent. Jesusʼ parable reveals that God is on the side of the poor and listens to their prayers. Wow to those who allow the world to remain for many an unjust and inhospitable place. Have you ever raised your voice for the cause of justice? What area of need or justice project has caught your attention recently. What could you do to be involved?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download 15th Sunday Yr C 

Reflection Questions

  1. Moses is giving his final words of farewell in the book of Deuteronomy today. The ʻLawʼ which Moses gave to Israel from God is not simply written in decrees but is written into our very nature…. ʻvery near to youʼ. Jewish people kept this ʻshemaʼ close to them by posting it on their doorways and wrapping it around their foreheads in times of prayer. How could you keep Godʼs ways and guidelines close to you? Is there any practice or habit you could adopt to express a love for Godʼs teachings?
  2. We hear from St Paulʼs letter to the Colossians in the next 3 Sundays. Paul is writing a letter to correct errors of a heresy. Gnosticism taught that God was only spirit and did not mix with the material world of ʻmatterʼ. Jesus therefore was thought of as an ʻintermediaryʼ between God and Man, like an Angel. God couldnʼt become ʻfleshʼ because this would involve God getting ʻdirtyʼ and mixing with humanity! Paul responds Jesus Christ is truly the image and exact representative of the invisible God, the fulness of God dwelt in him. God has truly come among us and reconciled us. What was the obstacle of Gnosticism? Is this obstacle in your own thinking?
  3. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is intended to ʻshake usʼ toward loving as God loves. Parables are meant to ʻshockʼ us out of the status quo. Stay with the parable until something ʻshocksʼ you.
  4. Jesus responds to an expert in the law of Moses. Jesus includes in the ʻshemaʼ an addition to ʻlove your neighbour as yourselfʼ (Lev 19,18). Jewish people practically limited this ʻadditionʼ to extending care only toward fellow Jewish citizens. Why do cultures limit and enforce cultural and social divisions of who is ʻincludedʼ and ʻexcludedʼ? In your social and religious circle, who do you ʻinclude / excludeʼ? Why?
  5. The ʻlawʼ stated that Priests and Levites were to be kept ʻcleanʼ for religious service. Getting close to a dead body or touching ʻbloodʼ would make them ʻuncleanʼ. They ʻseeʼ someone in great need – but decide to ʻpass byʼ. Jesus critiques this socially and religiously ʻacceptable behaviourʼ. Religious sacrifices and duties are no substitute for lack of compassion and injustice. In your week who have you ʻseenʼ, ʻpassed byʼ?
  6. A Samaritan was the cultural equivalent of a terrorist or drug dealer. It was the greatest shock for Jewish listeners to have a Samaritan as a hero surpassing a religiously observant Priest and Levite. The Samaritan put his money where his mouth was. His love for God showed itself in deep compassion not simply pious thoughts or words. Oil and Wine were gifts offered at the altar, used now to soften and disinfect wounds. 2 days wages and a promise of more if needed reveal not just first aid but ongoing care. What inspires you in the Samaritanʼs actions? What would it look like for you to ʻgo and do likewiseʼ?
  7. Jesus challenges the lawyer – and us – to a new approach to life. The question is not ʻwho is my neighbourʼ but will I be a ʻneighbourʼ ?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

Download 26th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. Like the Book of Exodus, the Book of Numbers is filled with God’s people complaining of life in the desert. Moses finds the experience of leadership so heavy he wishes God would allow him to die rather than carry such a heavy burden. In prayer Moses is invited to share leadership with 70 others. Have you had an experience of feeling ‘heavy’ and ‘tired’ with responsibilities and complaints? What happened? Do you have the freedom to ‘let go’, ‘share responsibilities’? Admit you are in need of help?
  2. Joshua, the ‘leader in training’ was jealous and protective of power and authority. Moses shares a new vision with him – wouldn’t it be great if everyone was attentive to God and spoke of God’s will and lived out their responsibilities and leadership gifts. Do you see people as problems needing correction, or, people gifted needing motivation?
  3. James warns of the storing up of wealth. St Basil gives a colorful reflection: If everyone kept only what is necessary for ordinary needs and left the surplus to the poor, wealth and poverty would be abolished…. Are you not a thief? The bread you store belongs to the hungry. The cloak kept in your closet belongs to those who lack clothing. The money you keep hidden away belongs to the needy. Thus you oppress as many people as you are in a position to help. Have you ever reflected upon what your ‘ordinary’ needs are, and how much ‘surplus’ you have? Do you give to the needs of the poor?
  4. John is jealous that an ‘outsider’ of the disciples group is obviously sharing in the power and authority of Jesus. ‘He does not follow us’. He is not in our ‘group’. John’s comments reveal their misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God. They still think of it as a power structure of  a political kingdom with favours granted to a small group. Have you prevented or excluded someone from service, ministry, a job, because they did not ‘follow’ you?
  5. Jesus uses striking imagery to warn about being a scandal – obstacle to someone believing in Jesus. Cut off or out anything that could stop people following Jesus. What do you consider are obstacles for people coming to faith in Jesus and participating in the life of the Church? Does your life display a desire for wealth or the poor? Comfort or compassion? Arrogance or understanding? What do you need to ‘cut off’ from your life?
  6. Gehenna is a place just outside of Jerusalem. Historically it was where shameful sacrifices of children were offered to the Canannite god ‘Molech’. It was then regarded as an unclean and sinful place. It became a rubbish tip with constantly burning fires. Jesus uses it as a symbol of ‘Hell’. Uncomfortably, the issue of a final judgment and consequences of our life-style and actions is raised. Do I give a good or bad example of christian living? Have I caused anyone to ‘stumble’ in their relationship with God? How do I understand God as merciful yet also having a day of judgement?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download 22nd Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. Deuteronomy literally means ‘second book of law’. The 10 commandments given to Moses when applied to daily life became a large set of 613 guidelines to live a holy life. These are explored in the Book of Deuteronomy and added to by the ‘teaching of the elders’. Jewish people treasured their ‘laws’ as a national treasure. Truth. Wisdom. Justice. Is a relationship helped or hindered by ‘laws’? What religious guidelines do you ‘observe carefully’? What practices have you found help you feel ‘close’ to God?
  2. The Letter of James is regarded as a ‘Catholic’ or ‘general’ letter as it was not written for a particular community. James insists liturgy and life-style are linked together. He paints a beautiful picture: a disciple is like a new birth, a new creation of ‘truth’ made from the WORD. Like the first-fruit of a plant, the seed of the word is planted in us and should show itself outwardly. Eventually the aim of the plant is to ‘look like something’ – actions of caring for orphans and widows (the lowest in society) and an ‘unworldly’ character. Planting takes some preparation and nurturing. How could you allow the word to be more fully ‘planted in you’? It is easy for religion to be ‘skin deep’. Who are ‘orphans’ and ‘widows’ in your life? What would it look like for you to be ‘unstained by the world’ – less worldly?
  3. Returning back to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is in Galilee but ‘spies’ from Jerusalem come to watch him. Pharisees and scribes seek to shame him in public telling Jesus and his disciples they are not keeping the ‘traditions of the elders’ (613 laws) and obeying the ‘purity codes’. Eating food is an intimate practice as it involves what goes into our bodies. Washing and cleansing rules were to apply. These rules gradually developed into such a complex list that poor and working people of the land could not satisfy all the conditions. This experience turned religion into oppression and made people feel distant from God. Jesus challenged this dynamic of oppression and exclusion under the guise of holiness.  How might Jesus challenge us today?
  4. Pharisees saw themselves as lay people stirring up the faithful toward a ‘super-piety’. Israel was called to Holiness Lets be holy! Two characteristics mark the pharisee spirituality. (1) religion becomes a set of rules to be lived rather than a relationship of love to be lived. (2) Judgement is made of others who do not follow ‘rules’ consequently separating those who are ‘in – clean’ and ‘out – unclean’. How can you see this dynamic within yourself? In others? What does authentic holiness look like for you?
  5. Jesus over-turns the entire Jewish system of ritual purity which focussed on set external actions making one acceptable before God. It is revolutionary as these purity laws were proud identity markers for Jews of their ‘holiness’. He points deeply into the heart adding three ideas not normally listed
  • blasphemy – literally ‘saying what is wrong is actually right’
  • arrogance – literally ‘trying to make a thing shiny’
  • folly – foolish – literally ‘without a deeper perspective’
  • Do you consider these inner characteristics harmful? What virtues could you practice as their ‘antidote’?

What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection – 19th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The continuing theme of being ‘fed by God’ is developed in the readings this week. Elijah sits exhausted under a tree in the desert. He is being hunted down by Princess Jezebel who was married to the King of Israel. She tried to replace all prophets and temples of Yahweh by importing 450 prophets and followers of B’aal from her homeland in Sidon. Elijah has just killed them all and is now on the run! (see 1Kings 18, 19-46). Have you ever got into difficulty as a result of obedience to God? Have you ever said to God: ‘this is enough’? Is there any painful purifying of the Church that you find particularly difficult to participate in and endure?
  2. God encourages Elijah not to focus upon his own pain and fear. God wants to offer food and strength for the “40 day” journey ahead. Do you tend to focus on your own pain and mumble and groan? How could you develop a habit of being open to help and ‘being fed’? God wishes us to move from simply ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’. If you were to ask God or someone for help, what would be your question in one sentence? How could you grow your hunger so you experience being ‘fed’ with scripture and the eucharist?
  3. St Paul teaches that we were ‘sealed’ at our Baptism. A ‘seal’ was a special jewel or stone or metal cylinder marked with a ‘sign’ and pressed upon clay or wax or object. The ‘mark – seal’ indicated the owners signature, ownership, authority on a legal document or object. The link between the person and / or object was now displayed to the world. As ‘sealed’ people we are to witness to whom we belong. Paul inserts attributes displaying God; kindness, compassion, forgiveness. Are you conscious of being ‘sealed’? Is there any anger or bitterness the spirit would like you to let go of so as not to ‘grieve the spirit’ dwelling in you?
  4. Jewish people often referred to their ‘laws’ as ‘bread from heaven’. Their laws and teachings from Moses gave them life and revealed God to them. They grumble and ‘murmur’ at Jesus’ claim: I am the bread that comes down from Heaven. Hidden within this phrase Jesus is claiming the Divine Name ‘I AM’ and to replace the ‘law’. He teaches further that he is true life-giving ‘bread’ but that ‘bread’ will now be replaced with ‘flesh’. John presents clearly the levels of meaning: Bread. Jesus. Flesh. Can you see in this text of John 6 the threads of our belief that in the Eucharist / Mass it is truly the ‘flesh’ of Jesus we receive? Do you recognise the invitation following reception of Jesus to now become ‘life-for-the-world’?
  5. The only way God can be truly revealed is someone must come from God and live among us. This is indeed the great religious hope of the Jewish people. However they become satisfied with the laws of God and were not ready to accept the ‘person’ of God. Jesus claims he is this person truly ‘from’ God, has ‘seen’ God. This is the claim of Christianity that sets us apart from other world religions. Because Jesus is divine – God – among – us what he promises to give us – his flesh and blood – he can and will do. As we approach the end of 5 weeks of teaching on the Eucharist consider prayerfully reading John 6. How would you explain the Eucharist now in your own words?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?