February 2020: Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com


The Presentation of the Lord

2 February 2020 • World Day for Consecrated Life


1.  It was a day that started without an expectation of anything unusual. Simeon and Anna set about making a visit to the Temple that had become part of their daily routine. Joseph and Mary were going to make the presentation of their child in the Temple, an optional but common practice of God-fearing parents. What started out as an ordinary day turned out to be a day with a meeting they would remember for a long time. Perhaps you too have had significant meetings on what you expected to be just an ordinary day?

2.  Simeon acknowledged that not all would accept the light that would shine through Jesus, and this rejection would be a cause of pain to Mary. It can be a source of pain to parents, teachers, church ministers, and all who work for others when some reject values, projects, or advice which would be for their good. Perhaps a sword has pierced your soul as well. What has helped you to maintain hope in such times?

3.  Even within ourselves we can be aware of division, at times being open to the light of God and at other times resisting it. Have you known the pain of that struggle? What has helped you to keep seeking the light of God?

4.  The final sentence speaks of Jesus as one who grew and became strong and was filled with wisdom. What has helped you to grow in wisdom? Have you seen others grow in wisdom through the experience of life? Recall times when you had a sense of growing up in some way. What brought that about? Think also of how you have seen growth in another person.


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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

9 February 2020


1.  Jesus uses the image of salt as something that makes food tasty. Without salt food can be tasteless. Who are the people who give zest to your life and make it enjoyable? For whom have you done this? When have you been particularly aware of your potential in this regard?

2.  The second image is that of light. Who have been the people who have been a light for you, particularly in moments of darkness? For whom have you been a light? Recall these experiences and give thanks.

3.  The images of salt and light can also be applied to communities to which we belong, a family, a parish, or other group. Thinking of the groups of which you are a member, how can their potential be enhanced to enrich the lives of members and offer them a guiding light? How can you make a contribution to this?


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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

16 February 2020


1.  In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proposes standards that go beyond external behaviour. He challenges our inner attitudes. When have you found that living out of inner conviction is more life-giving than keeping up appearances?

2.  Jesus applies his teaching to feelings of anger and sexual desire. He suggests that if we do not keep an eye on our feelings and thoughts we will not be able to control our actions. Perhaps you have experienced the truth of this. What has helped you to integrate your feelings so that you were able to live in right relationship with yourself and others?

3.  For Jesus, people with genuine authenticity do not need to swear an oath to be convincing. Their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ suffices. Recall people who had this kind of credibility for you. When have you found that your simple, direct and honest communication had a positive persuasive force?


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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

23 February 2020 • Day of Prayer for Temperance


1.  Jesus tells us to act out of love and says that acting out of love is better than acting out of revenge. What does your experience tell you?

2.  Perhaps you have at times hit back in revenge when you have been hurt or offended. What effect did this have you, on others, and on your relationship with them? Contrast this with the times when you resisted the urge to retaliate. What outcome did this have on you, on others, and on your relationship with them – at the time, and in the long term?

3.  From other passages in the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus did not mean that we should ignore injustices, or never make a stand against others. What lessons have you learned in life on when, and how, to make a stand? What wisdom would you share with others from your experience?


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