Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John Byrne osa
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 1 September 2019 • World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
1. The parable brings out two contrasting experiences, but each in its own way can be a moment of grace, a moment of truth, a moment of growth. You may be able to recall such experiences in your life. In the first (verses 8, 9) we discover that we had claimed a place that is too high for us; we are not as selfless, generous or compassionate as we thought we were. In the second (v. 10), others point out a goodness in ourselves that we may not have acknowledged to ourselves. How have you grown through such experiences?
2. In verses 12-14, Jesus warns us against the danger of ulterior motives in doing good. We can do good things partly because of the benefit we will get from what we do. That is natural but can lead to disappointment and resentment when our expectations are not met. When the good deed in itself is our reward we have a greater freedom. Praise will be a bonus, but is not necessary. What does your life experience tell you about this?
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Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 8 September 2019
1. The passage is a call to both radical and practical discipleship. When have you found that in order to achieve a certain objective you had to make it a priority, and then take the practical steps necessary to reach your goal? What were the benefits to you when you did this?
2. ‘Hate’ is prophetic exaggeration for the uncompromising loyalty Jesus seeks in disciples. There may be times when people make demands in conflict with fidelity to another relationship. This can be painful. When have you found that being clear about your priorities helped you in that situation?
3. Jesus uses parables here to tell us that in important human affairs we do not settle for vague aspirations. When have you found that some element of practical planning has been necessary to make progress with a project? What has this taught you about making the most of your life and of your time?
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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 15 September 2019
1. There are three figures in the story of the Prodigal Son. The father is a symbol of an unconditonal love. Perhaps you can recall someone showing love to you in a way that showed great forgiveness and acceptance. Have there been times when you have also loved in this way?
2. You may be able to identify with the younger son at different stages of his journey. Be sure to follow it to the point where it becomes a good news story for you – when you ‘came to yourself.’ Where and when have you experienced a homecoming after a time of exile and alienation.
3. Do not neglect the older son. In contrast to his father he was very judgemental and resentful towards his younger brother. Perhaps you have experienced these attitudes in others towards you, or in yourself towards others. What were those experiences like for you? What did they teach you?
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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 22 September 2019
1. As often with the parables of Jesus, this one is intended to shock in order to make us think. Jesus is not praising the injustice of the servant, but his purposefulness in preparing for the future. In your experience, what difference does it make when you are purposeful and energetic instead of lethargic?
2. It was his master’s call to account that galvanised the servant into action. What have been the experiences, or people, that have galvanised you into action when you had been somewhat half-hearted in your efforts?
3. Who have been the people whose energy, drive and astuteness have been an inspiration to you in how to handle difficult situations?
4. ‘No servant can be the slave of two masters.’ When have you experiened the truth of this statement?
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Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 29 September 2019
1. The first of the faults attributed to the rich man is his insensitivity to the abject poverty of those around him. When have you discovered that it is when you are aware of the needs of those around you and seek to make some response that you bring out the best in yourself?
2. The second fault attributed to the rich man is the way he ignored the word of God coming through Moses and the prophets. How have the gospels, the Scriptures or your faith opened you up to a deeper and more satisfying perspective on life?
3. Some people look to the spectacular for a sign of God’s presence and action. For Jesus, the lessons we need are not to be sought in the spectactular, but in the ordinary things of everyday life. Where have you found reminders of God’s presence in the world around you?
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