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Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

John Byrne OSA
Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

Fifth Sunday of Easter
2 May 2021

1.    In a relationship, connectedness is important. Relationships cannot be taken for granted and need time and care to be life-giving. What does your experience tell you of the truth of this in your relationships
o    with God
o    with your friends
o    with your family
o    with communities or groups to which you belong?
2.    Over the past year our usual relationships have been disrupted by coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings. How has this impacted on your family, parish, and other groups to which you belong? What creative ways have you, and others, devised to keep your social life alive?
3.    In THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL Pope Francis wrote 'I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.' He goes on to suggest that when individuals, or groups, focus on Jesus there is an increase of energy and vitality. Have you seen this happen?
4.    The parable also reminds us that we are not the source of our own life. It is a gift from God, from our parents, and from all who have nourished us. Give thanks for those who have been a source of life for you.

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Sixth Sunday of Easter
9 May 2021

1.     A commandment of love is something of a contradiction in terms. Love is a free choice. That is what gives the thrill to the experience of being loved. Recall times when you received gestures of love from another -
o    a spontaneous embrace from a husband or wife;
o    a wave from a friend;
o    words of comfort and affirmation
    not because the other person felt obliged to reach out to you but because they wanted to let you know that you were loved. What effect did that have on you? Did it bring you joy? Perhaps you have had a glimpse of the truth of what Jesus said, that it is in loving that our joy is complete.
2.     Often love and friendship make demands on us. Parents give freely of their times and energy to the care of their children but sometimes it requires a lot of effort. Also, in responding to the needs of friends or spouses we can be challenged to 'lay down' our own 'lives' at least for a time. Can you recall a time when putting yourself out for others bore fruit for them and for you?
3.     'I chose you'. Have you had the experience of being 'chosen' by someone? What was it like for you to be chosen? What is it like for you to consider yourself as one chosen by Jesus? That is what we are - chosen by Jesus to bear fruit through our love.

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The Ascension of the Lord
16 May 2021 o World Communications Day

1.    In the preceding verse Jesus had rebuked the apostles for their lack of faith. Despite this he commissioned them to bring the Good News to the whole world. Witnesses to the Good News do not have to be perfect. There is encouragement to us in this. The lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic prompted many to reach out to others in new and welcome ways. To whom have you brought good news? Who has been a messenger of good news to you?
2.    Jesus then tells them that their witness will have quite dramatic effects, helping people to overcome demons, bring them peace and healing. Things happen when we have belief in ourselves and in God. Strong faith can enable us to meet and overcome difficulties, in ways that waverers cannot do. Perhaps you have had experience of this?
3.    The ascension marked the end of the visible presence of Jesus with the disciples, but he would be with them in other ways. 'The Lord worked with them'. Sometimes we can experience that death is not the end of the presence of someone significant to us. We can experience the unseen presence and influence of a parent, a friend, or an inspiring leader, after they have died. Has this happened for you? Have you also experienced the hidden presence of the Lord working with you?

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Pentecost Sunday
23 May 2021

1.    Jesus recognized that his disciples were not capable of taking in everything at once. Wisdom about life comes slowly and sometimes painfully. Hearing the 'right' answer at the 'wrong' time does not help us. We need to be ready and open to receiving the truth if it is to have any impact. Perhaps you can recall some occasions when it was the 'right' time for you to learn a truth about life. Remember your experiences of growth in understanding.
2.     The Spirit can guide us to understanding in different settings. Understanding may have come to you when you were praying or reflecting on your life. Perhaps the Spirit guided you through the words of someone close to you, or through the words and actions of people you read about or saw on TV. Remember and give thanks for the people who have helped you to greater wisdom in life.
3.    The Spirit also speaks to us through 'the signs of the times'. The church has lived through a troubled decade or two, and society has been through a turbulent year with the pandemic. How do you think the Spirit is speaking to us at this time?
4.    Wisdom is handed on from person to person, and from generation to generation, within families, within communities, etc. Are there any particular gems of wisdom that you cherish from what has been handed on to you? What wisdom would like most of all to pass on to those close to you?

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The Most Holy Trinity
30 May 2021

1.    It is time for Jesus to return to his Father. He meets his disciples for the last time. His final words give them direction for their future. Perhaps you can recall such parting moments in your own life - leaving home, school, college, training, the death of a loved one. What was that like for you? Were there words spoken then that gave you direction for your future?
2.    Perhaps you can identify with Jesus in the story, when as a parent, teacher, or in some other way you sent someone on his/her way in life knowing you would not be with him or her as in the past. When did the way you parted help the other to make his, or her, own way in life?
3.    Jesus told his disciples that although he would not be with them as in the past he would be with them in a new way right throughout their lives. Have there been times when you were reassured by the love and support of another even though s/he was not physically present with you?
4.    In parting with his disciples Jesus gave them a mission for the future. Where, when, and how did you get a sense of the meaning and purpose of your own life? How does that sustain you now? Is there any way in which that purpose ties in with the mission given to the eleven to spread the Good News?
5.    Jesus promised to be with his disciples until the end of time. It is a promise he would fulfil through the gift of the Holy Spirit. That promise is also given to us. What helps you to be aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit with you on life's journey?

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