March 2022: Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel
John Byrne osa
First Sunday of Lent
6 March 2022
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. Sometimes, as with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are tested by events outside our control. What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic? Is there some way in which you grew through the experience?
3. Behind each of the temptations in the gospel story 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?
4. 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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Second Sunday of Lent
13 March 2022
1. On the mountain, the disciples saw Jesus in a new way. His appearance changed. Sometimes in friendships there are experiences when we get to know a friend in a deeper way. It is a marvellous moment. This can also happen in our relationship with God. Recall such experiences in your life. Remember what it was like for you and give thanks. How do such memories sustain you in difficult times?
2. The clear vision of Jesus with Moses and Elijah was followed by a frightening experience of being in a cloud. It was in the midst of the cloud that the disciples were instructed: ‘This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him.’ Have you had the experience of learning an important truth about yourself, or about your relationship with God, from moments of confusion as well as from times of joy?
3. The disciples were prepared for this experience by getting an invitation from Jesus to come apart, to withdraw to the mountain. Have there been times when going apart (or making space for quiet and prayer in an ordinary day) was an important element in preparing you for a significant experience?
4. Peter wanted to build three tents. He wanted to hold on to the experience. Have there been experiences that you wanted to hold on to?
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Third Sunday of Lent
20 March 2022
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 about 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
27 March 2022 • Laetare Sunday
1. Like many a parable, this story makes its point in a way that seems to be unfair: the spendthrift son is rewarded and the elder son is left hurt and angry. People often empathise with him. Neither son understood the nature of love. The younger son did not recognise what a treasure he had at home and walked out on it. Then he ‘came to himself’ and returned home. Where and when have you experienced a homecoming by becoming aware of love you had previously not recognised? What helped you to come to yourself and make that journey home?
2. The older son resented the party given to the younger son after his wandering and dissolute life – forgetting that all the father had was his. He is a symbol of us when we set ourselves up to decide when and how others should show their love, affection and gratitude. Such expectations fail to respect the freedom of others and make us vulnerable to the pain of unmet expectations. These can be fertile ground for hurt and resentment. What helps you to respect the freedom of others, and to recognise their love even if it is not expressed just as you would like?
3. Love is a free gift, not something we earn by our goodness. Recall the wonder of experiencing love when you did not expect it. You may even have thought you were not worthy of it. When has the experience of human love, freely given, prompted you to reflect on God’s love for you?
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