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Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

Download 2nd Sunday Easter

Reflection Questions

  1. Early followers of Jesus were fearful that authorities would persecute them and their families. Consequently ʻmany dared not join the Apostles in the Temple porchʼ. Is there something you would like to join in your Church family but are scared for some reason? What would help you get over your ʻfearʼ? Do you fear your Priest? Public leadership in the Church?
  2. Easter changed the disciples. A presence and power of Christ comes out of Peter that heals the sick and disturbed. It is primarily actions and ʻsignsʼ that helped people ʻbelieveʼ. What signs and wonders could be done by your hands to bring Christ to the sick and disturbed?
  3. John, the Beloved Disciple, the writer of the Book of Revelation, was exiled on the island of Patmos because he ʻgave testimony to Jesusʼ. Yet in the midst of imprisonment he has deep and enlightening ʻrevelationsʼ from Christ – dressed in white walking among the lampstands (symbols of Christian communities). John shares he experiences the distress of trials, a kingdom vision which sustains him the endurance and comforting presence of being in Jesus. Imagine Jesus walking amongst the lampstands of Christian communities. Is your community ‘shining’? Is there any experience of the disciple John that you can identify with in your life at present?
  4. Fear was very real for the disciples of Jesus. If they hunted and killed Jesus they could do the same to his followers. Violent persecution eventually changed toward another type of persecution. Converts from Judaism to Christianity would be disowned by family. A ‘funeral service’ would even be held to cut a convert off from their family and community. Do you recognise as a Christian the calling to be living an ‘alternative society’ to witness to God’s ways whatever the challenges? How does your life-style ‘challenge the world’?
  5. While other disciples had believed in Peter and John and Mary, Thomas refused and placed certain conditions on his belief. He needed Jesus to be very ʻrealʼ for him. Jesus responded to Thomasʼ probing and questioning. Do you identify with Thomas or know someone who is like Thomas? What is a question or source of ʻunbeliefʼ? How could you be like Jesus for unbelievers and make faith ‘real’?
  6. Peace is a special gift Jesus promises to his disciples. The disciples are afraid of the Jews and meeting behind ʻlocked doorsʼ. Jesus repeats his words of peace twice. Peacefulness, as a gift of the spirits forgiveness and presence is to be characteristic of a disciples encounter with the world and the world with us. Can you say you are ʻat peaceʼ?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Download Reflection documents

Holy Thursday – The Eucharist is for the soul what food is for the body

Good Friday – God’s judgement on the world is forgiveness

Easter Vigil – Don’t be afraid Jesus has overcome all evil

Download Reflection Document 5th Sunday Lent

Download Reflection Document 5th Sunday Lent (RCIA Readings)

Reflection Questions

  1. Rising from the dead is an image in the First and Gospel readings. Ezekiel was not referring to the resurrection of individuals but returning from exile in ‘slavery’ as God’s people were trapped in a ‘foreign land’. As the journey of Lent nears completion we are encouraged to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. We invite the spirit to ‘open our graves’ and ‘rise from them’. Where do you experience ‘lifelessness’? Sadness? Dryness? Death?
  2. Suffering is well known to the prophet Ezekiel. He writes of suffering as tough meat being boiled to tenderness in a pot and the heat of fire burning off the rust on the pot (Ez 24). In the midst of suffering Ezekiel writes 86 times ‘I am the LORD’ reminding us that God is guiding our personal lives and history. Can you trust God can work through your suffering? What is your suffering / salvation story?
  3. While we all live as ‘flesh and blood’ St Paul recognises it is possible for our ‘body / flesh’ to steer our life seeking only to satisfy itself with food and pleasure. Selfish and sensual living (flesh living) alone does not ‘please God’. Our baptism welcomed into our lives the Spirit of Christ which inspires and nudges us to become more like Christ. Consider the great power of the spirit to raise Christ from the dead. What would you like to pray for?
  4. Chapter 11 of John is very special. Raising Lazarus from the dead is the seventh ‘sign’ of Jesus. It is important to recognise a sign points to a reality. Jesus, on hearing of his friends death strangely talks immediately of ‘glory’. He even waits for four days as the Jewish belief was that the spirit of the body hovered over the body for 3 days. It is clear Lazarus is truly dead. Only God can bring someone back from the dead. This will be Jesus’ greatest sign to prove his identity as God. If you were present to this scene what would your questions be?
  5. Martha and Mary ask questions and respond to Jesus like true Jewish disciples and faith seekers. Jesus is considered an intermediary – someone ‘close to God’ ‘whatever you ask of God God will give you’. Jesus is unhappy with this response. Martha responds with a Jewish belief in the final resurrection from the dead and a hope in the Messiah. Jesus boldly proclaims ‘Martha, I AM the resurrection and the life’. In effect Jesus is teaching Martha (and us) I am God and I am in charge of and responsible for the resurrection and all life! Let me prove this to you ‘where have you laid him’? Can you trace your faith journey about Jesus’ identity in the questions of Martha? What does this 7th sign now teach you about Jesus? Do you believe?
  6. The Gospel of John was written in Greek. Greek thinking did not allow God to ‘change’ as this would suggest God was weak and not all-powerful. In the midst of his loved friends we have the profound short sentence. ‘And Jesus wept.’ God weeps and is deeply moved by our pain and sadness. Jesus is also perturbed and troubled. John stirs questions up for us about God. If God weeps what does that mean? Is Jesus upset and angry that people do not recognise who he is? What is your response personally to Jesus in this Gospel story?
  7. Jesus strangely says a prayer of thanksgiving before the tomb. Can you allow yourself to hear this prayer to you in the tomb of your wounds and bandages from your life journey. What do you request this Easter to be untied from?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

Readings for Holy Thursday

Readings for Good Friday

Download Easter Vigil

Download Easter Sunday

Reflection Questions

  1. Easter (and the next 7 weeks) is filled with the belief in the Resurrection, the appearances of Jesus, and readings from the Acts of Apostles. Acts 10 (first reading) is very significant as it involves Peter addressing a gentile (Cornelius) and his family in their home. Jews could not be in a gentile house or eat with them because of the clean / unclean restrictions of the Jewish Laws. This ʻuncleanʼ ʻsinnerʼ ʻimpureʼ label is the biggest obstacle between Jews and gentiles not only in the Old and New Testament but even today. God was demanding the unthinkable from good and law abiding Jews. Peter was being taught by God to ʻlift the status of ʻuncleanʼ off the backs of the gentiles.ʼ What cultural, religious, family boundaries have you been brought up with which lead you to separate yourself from others? Who does the world label ʻuncleanʼ?
  2.  The Resurrection is a belief in Jesus rising from death. It is also deeply a life-style victory over powerful rulers who crush the poor and powerless. Does your belief in the Resurrection show itself in a Resurrection lifestyle?
  3. The image of Easter Sunday is the empty tomb. If thieves had stolen Jesus they would not have unwrapped him. The burial cloths are ʻaloneʼ. The story and evidence is shared. People consider it ʻnonsenseʼ. Peter walks home ʻamazedʼ. If you were present in the Resurrection scene, having witnessed his suffering, death and burial. And now the empty tomb with burial cloths on the ground… what would you think? A stolen body or risen Lord? What thoughts and emotions would be present? Spend some time at the ʻtombʼ and see what it teaches you. Can you ʻseeʼ and ʻbelieveʼ?
  4. Jesus is risen as he said! Jesusʼ resurrection shows a victory over death. Death has lost its ʻstingʼ. Identify 3 things that you would now allow to enter your consciousness as a consequence of believing in the Resurrection? What are ʻResurrectionʼ behaviours? What does it mean to be ʻEaster peopleʼ and ʻChristianʼ?
  5. Imagine someone you have loved in a very intimate and special way. This person died and you were personally involved in seeing the death, the burial. In grief you go to the place of burial and see first-hand that your friend is not there. There is evidence of burial cloths and a messenger that ʻhe has been raisedʼ and that your friend so wants to meet with you and you will see each other soon. What would be your thoughts and feelings? If the resurrection is true, what change in thinking happens about death? About life? About God?
  6. As you have participated in the Holy Week ceremonies over the past few days what do you remember most, what struck you personally from the words, symbols, liturgies? What do you think God was trying to show you for your life journey?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

On Thursday 15th August the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption. This is the Patronal Feast Day for New Zealand. To acknowledge this a special livingtheword reflection is posted for this celebration.

Download Feast of the Assumption

Reflection Questions

  1. The Assumption of Mary. Pope Pius XII asked all Bishops in 1950 if their congregations believed that Mary was assumed into heaven. 98 percent answered Yes. The Pope recognised that God was speaking through the Church and the sense of faith of the ʻfaithfulʼ. Maryʼs assumption – being taken up – does not mean she did not die but after her ʻsleepingʼ she was taken body and soul into heaven. We as Christian disciples hope to follow after her.
  2. Christian interpretation has often seen in this first reading the figure of Mary. However the early writer was not writing of Mary but the figure of ʻIsraelʼ – Godʼs People – The Bride – The ʻChurchʼ. The Church giving painful birth to disciples is in tension with the dragon who has worn a variety of faces. The Roman Empire seeking to crush Christianity. Persecution of Jewish leaders on the growing sect of disciples in Jerusalem. Reading the passage with this background what strikes you? What face of the dragon have you experienced trying to ʻdevourʼ your discipleship?
  3. On Special Solemnities the selection of readings seeks to teach deep truths of faith. St Paul writes of the first-fruits the first offering back to God. Jesus rises first… and then each one in proper order those who belong to Christ. Do you consider it fitting and right that Mary is ʻtaken upʼ first to enjoy the resurrection with her son? What is your response to the feast of the Assumption of Mary? What does it teach you? Mean for you?
  4. The historical site of the Visitation is in the small village on the outskirts of Jerusalem called ʻEin Karemʼ. In the Church of the Visitation there are large bronze figures of Mary and Elizabeth, their two pregnant tummies almost touching as they greet each other. A conversation happens between Elizabeth and Mary, but also between John and Jesus. The Old Testament is meeting the New Testament. Zechariah, the High Priestly family, the Jewish Priesthood, is meeting the New Priesthood of Christ. Godʼs promises of old, now fulfilled. The long waiting of the Old Testament is now turned to ʻleaping for joyʼ. The Ark of the Covenant which King David ʻleaped for joyʼ before (2 Sam 6,5) is now fulfilled with John leaping for Joy before Mary, bearing Christ and the new covenantʼ. In the baby and disciple John we see our own leaping for joy in the Church before the Eucharist. What image strikes you the most? What could it teach you for your life?
  5. The Magnificat of Mary rejoices in her Savior, but it is not in a timid tone of a young virgin. Luke places on Maryʼs lips a battle cry. A great reversal of life and fortunes is happening. She who is lowly, from a humble rural town, has had great things done ʻfor meʼ. The world has been tipped-up-side-down with everyone falling from their positions and posessions. In Maryʼs religious and prophetic prayer we glimpse the great reversal that Jesus will accomplish in his mission. What does casting down the mighty and lifting up the lowly mean to you?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?

KBg8C2Download Easter Sunday Yr C

Reflection Questions

  1. Easter (and the next 7 weeks) is filled with the belief in the Resurrection, the appearances of Jesus, and readings from the Acts of Apostles. Acts 10 (first reading) is very significant as it involves Peter addressing a gentile (Cornelius) and his family in their home. Jews could not be in a gentile house or eat with them because of the clean / unclean restrictions of the Jewish Laws. This ʻuncleanʼ ʻsinnerʼ ʻimpureʼ label is the biggest obstacle between Jews and gentiles not only in the Old and New Testament but even today. God was demanding the unthinkable from good and law abiding Jews. Peter was being taught by God to ʻlift the status of ʻuncleanʼ off the backs of the gentiles.ʼ What cultural, religious, family boundaries have you been brought up with which lead you to separate yourself from others? Who does the world label ʻuncleanʼ?
  2. The Resurrection is a belief in Jesus rising from death. It is also deeply a life-style victory over powerful rulers who crush the poor and powerless. Does your belief in the Resurrection show itself in a Resurrection lifestyle?
  3. The image of Easter Sunday is the empty tomb. If thieves had stolen Jesus they would not have unwrapped him. The burial cloths are ʻaloneʼ. The story and evidence is shared. People consider it ʻnonsenseʼ. Peter walks home ʻamazedʼ. If you were present in the Resurrection scene, having witnessed his suffering, death and burial. And now the empty tomb with burial cloths on the ground… what would you think? A stolen body or risen Lord? What thoughts and emotions would be present? Spend some time at the ʻtombʼ and see what it teaches you. Can you ʻseeʼ and ʻbelieveʼ?
  4. Jesus is risen as he said! Jesusʼ resurrection shows a victory over death. Death has lost its ʻstingʼ. Identify 3 things that you would now allow to enter your consciousness as a consequence of believing in the Resurrection? What are ʻResurrectionʼ behaviours? What does it mean to be ʻEaster peopleʼ and ʻChristianʼ?
  5. Imagine someone you have loved in a very intimate and special way. This person died and you were personally involved in seeing the death, the burial. In grief you go to the place of burial and see first-hand that your friend is not there. There is evidence of burial cloths and a messenger that ʻhe has been raisedʼ and that your friend so wants to meet with you and you will see each other soon. What would be your thoughts and feelings? If the resurrection is true, what change in thinking happens about death? About life? About God?
  6. As you have participated in the Holy Week ceremonies over the past few days what do you remember most, what struck you personally from the words, symbols, liturgies? What do you think God was trying to show you for your life journey?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

 

Take some time to get into the week of holy celebrations. Each ceremony has much to teach us.

Holy Saturday Vigil Readings – In this ceremony we wait in expectant hope. With symbols of fire and light, water and oil, the great celebration of victory over sin and death, being washed clean and joined to Christ and annointed to continue his saving mission unfolds as we celebrate and welcome new members into the body of Christ.

Download Easter Sunday – In this ceremony the Easter story begins to be told and shared. The meaning of Jesus rising from the dead and his message to his followers unfolds for the next 6 weeks of the Easter season.

Download Easter Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. Acts chapter 10 is an very significant part of the New Testament. It is hard for us to understand just how big were the divisions between Jews and Non Jews (Gentiles). Jews were not allowed to enter a Gentile house and were certainly not allowed to ‘eat a meal together’. Acts 10 reveals the story of Peter entering a Gentile home and having a meal with a Gentile (and Roman Soldier!) Cornelius.  Peter had a vision from God that the ʻgentilesʼ were ʻcleanʼ and could sit at table together with Jews. This message would upset many who had long held religious views of separation. What obstacle may God wish to remove within you so you can sit together with an ‘enemy’? Who do you consider ʻuncleanʼ?
  2. Before the Feast of the Passover Jewish women would spend hours sweeping and tidying their homes. They particularly got rid of any ʻleavenʼ (yeast to make the bread rise). It was a symbol of sin, capable of affecting the whole ʻloafʼ. In response to the Resurrection we are called to be ʻnewʼ, people of the light, walking out of darkness. What particular action, habit, area of my life will I seek to tidy and sweep during the season of Easter as a response to living the new life of the Resurrection?
  3. John’s gospel has Mary of Magdala, Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple (John) – three foundational members of the early christian community – walking about confused. Belief in the Resurrection was not something that happened instantly. Even the ‘other disciple’ who saw burial cloths before Peter, had to look again before he believed. What has been your experience of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday Vigil. What have you seen? What do you remember? What was shown to you by God to help you ‘believe’?
  4. Imagine someone you have loved in a very intimate and special way. This person died and you were personally involved in seeing the death, the burial. In grief you go to the place of burial and see first-hand that your friend is not there. There is evidence of burial cloths and a messenger that ʻhe has been raisedʼ and that your friend so wants to meet with you and you will see each other soon. What would be your thoughts and feelings? If the resurrection is true, what change in thinking happens about death? About life? About God?
  5. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?

 

Download readings and reflection questions: 5th Sunday Lent Yr B (RCIA)

Download readings and reflection questions:  5th Sunday Lent Yr B

The RCIA readings and reflection questions this week raise the issues of rising from our sadness, trusting God can deliver wisdom through our suffering, and the great and final ‘sign’ of Jesus in the Gospel of John: Raising Lazarus from the tomb.

If you parish does not have candidates for Baptism at Easter, the readings raise the issues of the covenant relationship with God, suffering and the significant moment of Jesus saying the saving ‘hour’ has arrived.

Donations: If you have used and enjoyed livingtheword and are able to make a donation click here for details. $380 received with thanks seeking a total of $800. This will be the final request shared for donations. If you have been considering it, let this request be your opportunity to give. Many students, young adult groups, parishes and faith sharing groups use this resource. As someone shared with me recently, a 50 cent per week for each download would be a donation of $25 so here it is! Every donation helps. Cheers. Enjoy and Share. Fr Frank

Download 2nd Sunday Easter

Reflection Questions

  1. Over the next 8 weeks the Readings reflect on the mystery of Easter. Take a moment to reflect on your experience of Easter. What do you remember? What did you hear? See? Feel? What personal message do you think God wishes you to store and treasure in your spirit? On this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, can you see God’s love and forgiveness at Easter?
  2. Luke, in writing the Acts of the Apostles is trying to teach the early Christian community how to live and grow. It is the ideal the Christian Community strives to live and witness to. It is the lived expression of conversion. Consider personally (and for your community) what lifestyle change is invited for you to pray daily at home and in the temple, share property, possessions, food and resources with those in need, celebrate the liturgy (breaking of bread) and learn the teachings of the apostles
  3. For Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity the break with family and social bonds caused them to be rejected and persecuted. Jewish converts to Christianity saw their own family conduct a funeral for them considering them lost and dead! Gentiles faced suspicion of subverting the social order. Peter encourages them not to be surprised. Your inheritance is waiting in heaven. Be certain that the genuiness of your faith will eventually prove to give praise to God. Do you experience being ‘tested’ by friends, family, society for your faith? Do you need to let go of some relationships and influences to remain ‘faith-full’? Does your faith ‘cost’ you anything?
  4. The resurrection greeting Jesus gives his disciples is important. The Jewish belief was the reign of the Messiah would bring a time of peace and people living in reciprocal covenant relationship with God and one another. Peace is given by the forgiveness of sins, won on the cross, given to the Church through the activity of the Holy Spirit. While this text points to the sacrament of reconciliation, it also has within it a charge for all disciples to actively live the forgiveness they have received from Christ. Do you recognise your call to be a living witness to the peace and forgiveness – covenant – of God?
  5. Thomas is present within each of us and in our communities. Sometimes with disciples. Sometimes not. Struggling with questions and doubts. Do you know a ‘Thomas’? How could you support them?
  6. The Roman Emperor of the time, ‘Domitian’ demanded people address him with the title ‘Our Lord and God’. What might John be trying to teach us in Thomas’ profession of faith?
  7. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?