April 2019: Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

Fifth Sunday of Lent
7 April 2019

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John 8:1-11

1. Compassion for human frailty combined with a gentle challenge to a better life marked the response of Jesus. From whom have you experienced a compassionate challenge? What was that like for you? To whom have you given such a challenge?

2. The Pharisees and scribes self-righteously condemned the woman until Jesus brought them in touch with their own sinfulness. This was a conversion moment for them and they turned away from their quest for the death of the woman. Have there been times when your awareness of your own fragility and sinfulness has helped you to be less judgemental of others?

3. ‘What do you say?’ can be an embarrassing question. Jesus had the courage to voice an opinion, even though it was against the party line of the day. When you have seen that courage shown, by yourself, or by another? What was the result?

John Byrne OSA
Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
14 April 2019

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
Luke 22:14–23:56 (shorter form 23:1-49)

This passage is a very rich one and it would be a mistake to attempt to pray each and every part of it. Almost every phrase has something new: actions, images, symbols, words.
When you read the passage, stay with whatever part of it resonates with your own life, but make sure when you pray it that you stay with the passage until you get beyond the violence and the horror to find a good news lesson for you.

A few specific points taken at random are:
1. In this scene of great tragedy, there are people helping others, either reluctantly or with compassion: Simon, the women of Jerusalem, the criminal on the cross, and Jesus himself. Note the differences in the manner in which the help given (as a burden, with
sympathy, etc). What has been your experience of helping and being helped?

2. Despite the persecution by the leaders Jesus still shows forgiveness. When have you seen that spirit of forgiveness in yourself or in others? In your experience, what is the effect of a forgiving spirit, or of its absence?

3. Towards the end, there is a ray of light. Jesus says ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’. His relationship with his Father was one of trust, even at a moment like this. What difference has it made to you in times of difficulty or pain to have a relationship of trust with God, or with someone else?

John Byrne OSA
Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

Easter Day of the Lord’s Resurrection
21 April 2019

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
Easter Vigil: Luke 24:1-12

1. You might identify with the women through the events of that morning. They came, searched, and found an empty tomb. Then they were told they were looking in the wrong place: ‘Why look for the living among the dead’. Finally they had to cope with the staggering good news that Jesus was alive when they thought he was dead. Let their story remind you of when you found life again where you thought there was none – perhaps you discovered that you had been looking in the wrong place.

2. The women were the first witnesses to the resurrection. Remember the women in your life who have brought you good news, and the women who have been witnesses to you bringing you to faith in yourself, in others, or in God.

3. The women did not keep their discovery to themselves, but hastened to share the good news with the apostles. Have there been times when your heart has been full of good news that you were eager to share with others.

John Byrne OSA
Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

Second Sunday of Easter
24 April 2019 • Divine Mercy Sunday

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John 20:19-31

1. ‘Peace be with you’ was the greeting of Jesus on meeting his frightened apostles. Who has come to you bringing peace at times when you were afraid? To whom have you been able to bring peace?

2. Thomas, doubting and questioning, is possibly a person with whom we can identify. What positive part have doubting and questioning played in your life? How have such moments helped you to know that your life is worthwhile? How have questions and doubts strengthened your faith?

3. Note the way that Jesus dealt with Thomas. He did not give out because Thomas doubted. He accepted how Thomas felt, and led him along to see the truth of the resurrection. Who has been that kind of teacher for you, gently meeting you where you were and leading you to a deeper knowledge of some truth about life? For whom have you been that kind of teacher?

4. ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believed’. That requires great trust. Perhaps you have had the experience of being trusted without having to justify every step along the way. What was it like to be trusted in that way? Who have you been able to trust in a similar manner?

John Byrne OSA
Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com