March 2021: Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John Byrne osa
Third Sunday of Lent
7 March 2021
1. In the Old Testament the privileged place of God’s presence was the Temple in Jerusalem. In the New Covenant, this was replaced by the person of Jesus. This is the symbolism of the action of Jesus in the Temple. Recall how Jesus has helped your relationship with God and give thanks for this.
2. But we are the Body of Christ. When have you been particularly aware of the sacredness of people (yourself or others).
3. There are many ways in which people, the temples of God, are being profaned today. Where are you aware of the sacredness of the human person being violated? Who are the people seeking to cleanse the temple, by promoting respect for the dignity of every human person? Perhaps in ways you have done this.
4. We may also think of institutions as in some way temples of God’s presence. In this time when aspects of our institutions are crumbling we can perhaps identify with the Jews who were horrified at the suggestion that the Temple would be destroyed. What is it like for you living in a time when some of the things you have taken for granted are collapsing? Where do you find hope in such circumstances?
Fourth Sunday of Lent
14 March 2021 • Laetare Sunday
1. Jesus speaks of himself being lifted up, a term that can mean a physical lifting, or also exaltation. By this play on words the evangelist explains to us that Jesus’ gift of himself in the passion was a glorious revelation of love, despite all its injustice and brutality. Bring to mind occasions when the love shown by Jesus in his passion was a sacrament of God’s love for you.
2. It would be very cushy for us if we could be a source of life to others without cost to ourselves. True life-givers know that they need the generosity of being lifted up by giving their lives so that others may have life. Recall when you have had that generosity and give thanks for others who have been like that for you.
3. We receive life from God when our faith enables us to trust in God’s love for us. We give life to one another when the love between us is trustworthy. Recall memories of that kind of trustworthy love. For whom have you been able to be a ‘Jesus person’ and give a love that another could trust? Who has shown that kind of love to you and been for you a sacrament of God’s love?
Fifth Sunday of Lent
21 March 2021
1. The parable of the grain of wheat reminds us of a truth that any parent can testify to, namely that it is in dying to ourselves that we can give life to others. We will never be of benefit to others if we remain wrapped up in ourselves. In what ways has your dying to yourself brought life to another? How has the generous giving of another brought life to you?
2. Sometimes our emotions rebel at the thought of what lies ahead and we feel like praying Father, save me from this hour. Then a realisation may come for you as a parent, a teacher, a spouse, a friend: No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Recall times when you have accepted pain or hassle and been a source of life to others for doing do.
3. The story presents the death of Jesus as the moment of his glorification by God. We are also glorified when the grace of God enables us to give generously of ourselves. When have you experienced this in yourself or in another?
4. This voice has come for your sake and not for mine. The angel spoke that we might recognise the love being shown us by Jesus. Sometimes it requires the voice of another to draw our attention to love that is being offered to us. When was this your experience?
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
28 March 2021
1. The injustice and brutality of the Passion of Jesus make it a difficult story to read as good news. Yet in the midst of that cruelty the courageous, faithful and self-sacrificing love that Jesus showed for us shines through. Recall moments when the account of the Passion has moved you in a special way. How have you experienced blessing through it?
2. Human love can also be painful. When have you experienced the courage, fidelity and self-sacrifice of others in their love of you? When have you shown that kind of love to others, as a parent, a spouse, or a friend, or in some other relationship?
3. We read the Passion story in the light of the resurrection. What seemed a humiliating and shameful failure for Jesus was not the end of the story. Perhaps with hindsight you can look back on something in your own life that seemed like a tragedy at the time but out of that tragedy new life and new possibilities followed for you.
4. For each of us there arise situations in which we feel things are outside our control and we are utterly helpless and powerless. We are not alone in this experience. In his Passion Jesus is one with us in this human helplessness. When have you found that the presence of another with you helped you through a crisis? When have you been able to help another with your presence?