September 2023: Seeing Your Life Through The Lens of The Gospel

John Byrne OSA


Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
3 September 2023


  1. Short-term loss is sometimes necessary for long-term gain, as a student studying, or an athlete training, can testify. When have you found that denying yourself proved to be worthwhile because of what you gained afterwards? 

  2. Jesus was teaching his followers that the path of discipleship would involve pain and suffering. His friend, Peter, would have none of it. Sometimes friends have a mistaken idea of what is for our good. What lessons have you learned about handling bad advice from a good friend?

  3. Jesus knew that because his good news message was not acceptable to the authorities he would suffer and die. In spite of this, he trusted that the power of God would overcome evil. Have you seen a good news message survive even though opponents tried to stifle it? 

  4. Jesus promised that those who suffer for the kingdom would be rewarded. Perhaps, even in this earthly life, you have experienced reward for faithful discipleship. What have these rewards been?


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Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 September 2023

  1. At the time Matthew was writing his gospel local church communities would have numbered no more than fifty people. They would be known to one another. Matthew presents the instructions of Jesus for dealing with people whose behaviour disrupted and harmed the community. Note the steps suggested. Simple directions but many of us do otherwise. We avoid difficult confrontations. We talk about the faults of others to everyone but themselves. We go over the head of someone who displeases us and make complaints. In your experience, which approach is life-giving for you and for others? 

  2. While Jesus is referring to a group situation, the advice can be applied also to personal difficulties and problems with others. What lessons has life taught you about constructive ways of dealing with conflict? 

  3. As individuals and communities we have the power to bind and to loose, to exclude people from relationship, or to open up and include others in relationship. When have you found it important to acknowledge this power in your own life? 

  4. Jesus also promises to be with his followers when they gather together. What does that mean to you? How have you experienced the presence of Jesus in his followers gathered together? During the recent lockdown due to the coronavirus, how did you experience the presence of Jesus in your faith community?

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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
17 September 2023

  1. Jesus surprised Peter by telling him he needed to forgive seventy-seven times. Perhaps you have known the value of this when something reminds you of a past hurt and you find you need in your heart to forgive again the person who hurt you. What was this like for you? How has a capacity to have a forgiving heart helped you? 

  2. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for things we regret about past behaviour. What happens to you when you cannot do this? How has your ability to forgive yourself for past mistakes influenced your attitude towards yourself now? 

  3. Pope Francis chose as his motto ‘miserando atque eligendo’ (seen with compassion and chosen) to express his belief that Jesus viewed his past mistakes with compassion, and called him, nonetheless. At this moment can you see Jesus calling you, no matter what your past has been like?

  4. Are there people whose ability to forgive has inspired you? Recall them and the forgiveness they showed and give thanks for their example.


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Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
24 September 2023 • World Day of Migrants and Refugees


  1. ‘I was there first’. Envy easily comes to the surface when faced with the good fortune of others, especially when compared to what seems less favourable treatment of ourselves. Can you recall that feeling in yourself and what it did to you? Can you also recall times when you were content with your lot, even though it seemed others had greater gifts, better opportunities, etc. 

  2. A parent or teacher who gives a lot of time to a difficult child does not love the others less, but if we are one of those other children we may not see that. Recall a ‘Jesus person’ in your life who helped you to overcome feelings of envy and helped you appreciate that the apparently more favourable treatment of another did not mean a lessening of love for you. 

  3. This leads us to the core message of this parable, namely, that God’s love is a free gift, and not earned. Recall moments when you were particularly conscious of the gifts that God has given you by counting all the blessings that you have, no matter how small. 

  4. ‘It is too late now’ are words sometimes uttered to justify doing nothing about a situation. This parable tells us that where love is involved, it is never too late. Can you recall times when you got a positive response after taking action when you thought it was ‘too late’?


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