Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John Byrne osa
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
3 March 2019 • Day of Prayer for Temperance
1. Can you remember an occasion when you were giving out about the behaviour of another person, and later realised you had some of the same fault yourself? Was that a wake-up call for you? Jesus tells us it is more constructive to correct our own faults, than complain about the faults of others.
2. If we want to help other people we need to have our feet on the ground, with a realistic awareness of our gifts and our limitations. Otherwise we will be impractical, like the blind leading the blind. What has helped you to be realistic about what you can and cannot do?
3. No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit. This parable invites us to examine the motivation behind what we do. If our basic motivation is love, then our lives will bear good fruit. If love is absent from our lives then the fruits will be conflict, disharmony and abuse of people for our own selfish ends.
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First Sunday of Lent
10 March 2019
1. The temptations were a step for Jesus in his growing understanding of his mission and of his relationship with his Father. Can you look back at some painful experiences and acknowledge that you have grown through them, both in your knowledge of yourself, and in your relationships with others and with God? Give thanks for the guidance of the Spirit of God in these times.
2. Behind each of the specific temptations is a basic temptation to lose trust in God. Jesus resisted this because he recognised his complete dependence on his Father. How have you come to recognise your life and the whole world as gifts from God?
3. One can enter into each of the temptations singly. There may be ones that you have experienced:
• the temptation to give priority to bodily needs and satisfactions
• the temptation to power
• the temptation to seek to be the centre of attention.
How have you grown through wrestling with these temptations?
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St Patrick, Bishop, Principal Patron of Ireland
17 March 2019 • Second Sunday of Lent
1. The owner of the field who allowed the wheat and the darnel to grow together is a reminder to us to be patient with ourselves and with others when we see that everything is not right. Sometimes a preoccupation with the negative (the darnel) can blind us to seeing the positive in our own lives and in the lives of others. When have you found that a willingness to live with the messiness of the present created the conditions for future growth?
2. Have you ever found that it was through accepting the darnel that you learned important lessons for life, e.g., learning by making mistakes, or asking stupid questions, or taking foolish risks?
3. The parable of the mustard seed is a reminder that seemingly insignificant things can have very positive results. Have you ever been surprised by the benefit to yourself or others of a kind gesture, a small initiative, a word of encouragement or a smile?
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Third Sunday of Lent
24 March 2019
1. Jesus rejects the idea that personal misfortune is God’s punishment for sin. Yet a serious illness or accident can serve as a wake-up call for how we live our lives. How have such experiences given you a greater appreciation of the value of your life and relationships, and of the time and opportunities at your disposal?
2. ‘I’ll wait till tomorrow to do that’. Have you ever said that and then found the chance is gone the next day? In the story we are called to recognise God at work in our lives and respond to Him. Now is the opportune moment. When have you been glad you did not put off action to the following day?
3. Perhaps there have been times when you saw yourself like the tree in the parable – useless, merely a waste of space, unable to achieve what you wanted. Think of friends who came to you at such a time, people who saw your potential and were prepared to give you another chance, people who also dug the soil around you and gave you the help you needed to grow. Perhaps in your turn you have been able to do this for others.
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Fourth Sunday of Lent
31 March 2019 • Laetare Sunday
1. Like many a parable, this story makes its point in what seems to be an unfair way: the spendthrift son is rewarded and the elder son is hurt and angry. Jesus is telling us that both sons failed to recognise the free gift of love offered by their father. Love is a free gift, not something we earn by our goodness. When have you experienced this truth in the love you have received from others? When has the experience of human love prompted you to reflect on God’s love for you?
2. After some time, the younger son ‘came to himself’ and returned home. Where and when have you experienced a homecoming after a time of exile and alienation? What helped you to come to yourself and make that journey home?
3. The older son resented the welcome given to the younger son after his wandering and dissolute life. This contrasts with the welcome the father gave the younger son. Perhaps you have experienced these differing attitudes in yourself when people you knew ‘came to themselves’. How did you move beyond those initial feelings?
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