September 2021: Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel

John Byrne OSA

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
5 September 2021

1. The healing of the deaf mute provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of communication in our lives. The healing touch of Jesus brought the man from isolation into community. Who have been the people who touched you when you felt isolated and alone (perhaps during the recent lockdown)and helped you to come out of painful aloneness? For whom have you done this?
2. Deafness is symbolic of being unable to hear what is being said to us. What a difference when our ears are opened! Perhaps you can recall a time when your ears were opened and you heard in a new way that you were loved – by God or by another person.
3. Words are not the only form of communication. Actions can speak louder than words. Recall times when this was brought home to you.
4. Being able to say what is in you is the other side of communication. Perhaps there have been occasions when you have struggled to find words to express what is deepest in you – your faith, your values, your love. Then something changed and you found the words. What was it like to be able to express your deepest self?

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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
12 September 2021

1. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Imagine Jesus putting this question to you. How would you answer it? How would you answer it, not in words taken from a catechism or textbook, but from your own experience of the significance of Jesus in your life? What does Jesus mean to you? What does his gospel message mean to you?
2. Jesus went on to teach his disciples that following him would be hard at times. There would be a price to pay. Perhaps you also have found that imitating the love and compassion of Jesus is not an easy road? Nor does it come easy to have the constant trust in God that Jesus had. Yet Jesus tells us that this is the way to life. Would you agree?
3. There is a natural human tendency to shy away from what is painful or difficult. Yet if that is our standard pattern of behaviour, we will not get far in reaching our potential. We will never find who we are capable of being. When have you found it worthwhile to face difficulties, persevere, ‘carry your cross’ for a while to achieve some goal that was important to you?

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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 September 2021

1. Jesus uses the time they are travelling along the road to teach his disciples what it means to follow him. Think of the wisdom you have acquired about life, about faith, about what it means to be a Christian. Who have been your teachers? Remember them and give thanks for them.
2. One of the lessons Jesus gives them is that there is a dying to be endured as we move to a fuller life. That was the road he would travel. It is also our journey, not only at the end of this earthly life, but also in small ways through life. When have you found that by dying in some way you came to a fuller life?
3. The sacrifices made by front line health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic were an inspiration to many. They put themselves at risk to care for the sick, and some of them died. Are there other people who have inspired you by their service of others.
4. Achievement, affirmation, recognition, and status are attractive and enjoyable when they come our way. Yet we can be in trouble if, like the disciples, we become caught up in pursuit of them. Jesus tells them that true greatness lies in service of others. Who are the people whose support and assistance help you now? What has helped you to appreciate the value of loving service of others?

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Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
26 September 2021 o World Day of Migrants and Refugees

1. John objected when a person, who was not in their group, cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus himself had no problems with this. Jealousy can poison our outlook even when what is done by another is good. ‘S/he is invading my patch.’ Perhaps you have seen, in yourself or in others, the negative effect of jealousy and the contrasting positive effect of being able to rejoice that good is being done, irrespective of the person doing it.
2. In strong terms Jesus condemns those who are destructive of the life of others, particularly the ‘little ones’. Just as Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full, we likewise are here to make a positive difference to others. What was it like for you when you were able to do something that was helpful to another?
3. Rather dramatically Jesus tells us to cut off a hand, or tear out an eye, rather than harm another. It is not to be taken literally but it does mean that we should not be casual about our efforts to live a good life. When have you experienced the benefits of an element of seriousness in your approach to life?

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