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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Catholic Gospel Readings’

Download 14th Sunday Yr A

Reflection Questions

  1. Zechariah makes a prophesy that the Saviour will enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Horse and Chariot were symbols of power and war. A donkey was a symbol of humble work and peace. Horse and Donkey. Power and Humility. Violence and Service. Why does the world favor a horse, God a donkey?
  2. “Meek” is a word mentioned twice in todays readings. It comes from a Greek word meaning ‘not easily provoked’. Like a person feeling anger and yet staying in full control, able to turn it to justice rather than violence. Meek people lead the way in reconciliation, healing. Who could you identify as ‘Meek’? What practice could you adopt to develop a meek character?
  3. ‘Flesh’ is St Paul’s expression talking about a life that is lived without God, like an animal following only its senses. A ‘Spirit’ led life is a life open to God and turned outward in love. How do you experience the disciples tension of ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’? Which life do you feed and nourish?
  4. Back into Ordinary Time we return to the Year A Gospel of Matthew. In chapters 11-12 Matthew is teaching about Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Matthew has Jesus replace Moses as the great teacher. Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Jesus is greater than the Torah (Law given by Moses) and all the Prophets. ‘No one knows the Father except the Son and to whom the Son wishes to reveal him’ is a knowledge claim by Jesus. What does this statement mean for you?
  5. Jesus remarks how great learned religious figures (Pharisees and Scribes) cannot accept him, yet ‘little ones’ (the poor, those without learning, workers of the land) accept him. It is not necessarily learning that has proven an obstacle but pride and position. Within those who are ‘comfortable’ and ‘satisfied’ grows an inability to be ‘open’. Are you satisfied? Have you made Jesus comfortable? What challenge of Jesus do you find hardest to be ‘open’ to?
  6. The Torah (OT Law) handed down by Moses required knowing and being obedient to 613 laws. This was a ‘heavy burden’. People felt oppressed by the rules and those enforcing them (Saducees, Scribes, Pharisees). Jewish people referred to this as the ‘yoke of the law’. Jesus invites a radical change. ‘Come to me’ all who are feeling heavily burdened. I will give you rest. Put on my yoke. Learn from me. The Torah is being replaced by the person of Jesus. A wooden ‘yoke’ put around the bullocks neck was tailor made to avoid painful imbalance. In your disciples journey, how are you experiencing the ‘yoke’ of Jesus? Are you trying to do and carry more than is required?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

 

Download St Peter and St Paul

Reflection Questions

  • Today the Church celebrates two different leaders and leadership styles in the Church. St Peter officially given ‘keys’ to symbolise a position of responsibility. St Paul, a missionary who travelled by foot and boat on the ancient trade routes to share the message of Jesus. They both experienced prison, beatings, court hearings. We have two leaders who are revolutionaries and strong witnesses to the life of Jesus. Consider today what challenge leadership challenge they would give to you? To the Church?
  • The Acts of the Apostles reveals persecution of the early Christian community. Just when their leader had been captured and at the point of sure ‘death’, God’s power intervenes in union with prayers by the Church. Have you experienced being ‘in chains’? In a ‘prison’ of mind or heart? Inspired by the power of God in this passage, what do you want to pray for? Can you recognise an ‘angel’ in your life whose presence is like a ‘light’?
  • St Paul refers to his life with a temple image: like oil being poured out on the altar as a beautiful gift offering to God. Paul also uses an athletes image: I have competed well, finished the running race. What image strikes you today for your Christian journey. The Altar or the Running Race? Why?
  • One well known pastoral American Bishop wrote in his autobiography. ‘Wherever St Paul went he got stoned and chased out of town. Wherever I went I got offered cups of tea and scones. Where did I go wrong?’ What do you think this comment teaches about St Paul?
  • Caesarea Philippi is a place famous for various shrines worshipping different pagan Gods. At this site is even an altar and shrine dedicated to the ‘Dancing Goat’! In the midst of this shopping aisle of idols and temples Jesus turns to his disciples. ‘Who do you say I am?’ In the midst of many idols in the world today, who is Jesus and why do you really follow him? Have you had a moment of recognising Jesus is truly the ‘Christ’ (Greek word) ‘Messiah’ (Hebrew word) the living human and divine presence of God born into our world?
  • The symbol of keys would have been well known to Jesus disciples. The ‘keeper of the keys’ was a special role given to the most trusted aide of the King. It was the true keys to open the Palace doors. They were large keys worn hanging from the shoulder obvious to all as a sign of authority. What does this symbol mean to you? For the Catholic Church?
  • 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?