Beginning with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you.
Find a comfortable space and when ready, take three deep breaths. As you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and take a few moments to reflect on:
- Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
- Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
and when you are ready read the Gospel
… a familiar story, and when we encounter a familiar story we can be inclined to hear the version we know rather than actually hearing the story. Try to listen to it as if for the first time, hearing something new in it…
….. the Gospel Luke 21:5-19
When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Not exactly a comforting or comfortable Gospel message Sean Goan offers the following commentary on it:
The imagery in the gospel is not to be taken literally but is symbolic of the hard times that people might have to endure before the finally victory of good over evil. This reading from Luke looks towards the second coming of Christ and Jesus warns his followers not to be distracted but to persevere in their faith for no harm will come to them.SEAN GOAN – Let the Reader Understand, Year C
The preaching of Jesus is never aimed at frightening people into conversion so there is nothing Christian about using the Bible to predict a catastrophic end to the world.
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge.
Use some quietening music again if you wish.
Ask yourself, how is this Gospel speaking to my situation in my life in this moment.
And the following is a reflection offered by José A Pagola.
Profound socio-cultural changes are taking place and a religious crisis is shaking the foundation of Christianity.JOSÉ A PAGOLA – Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, Year C
Let us focus on what is essential Every Christian generation has its own problems, difficulties and needs. We must not lose our serenity but assume responsibility for ourselves. We are not being asked anything beyond our strength. We can count on the help of Jesus himself: I will give you words and wisdom. Even in an atmosphere of rejection and ill-will, we can practice the gospel and live with Christian wisdom and common sense.
This is a time for witnessing. Hard times should not be a reason for lamenting, nostalgia, or discouragement. It is not the time for resignation, passivity, or quitting. Jesus sees things differently. He tells us: This will give you an opportunity to testify. This is precisely when we must become humble but convincing witnesses of Jesus, of his message and of his project.
Let us have patience. The recommendation of Jesus for difficult times is this By standing firm you will gain life. The original term can be translated either as patience or perseverance. We Christians speak little of patience, but we need it more than ever. It is time to develop a Christian, patient, and tenacious way of life that will help us to respond to new situations and challenges without losing our peace or the clarity of our vision.
Does this support your reflection on the Gospel passage or not? If so in what way and if not why not? Sit with that and ask what is this Gospel calling you to be or to change this week?
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on our Gospel for this weekend in written or on video.
The following prayer is from the Center for Action and Contemplation community. I invite you to read it yourself below or to join with Richard Rohr in praying it (see also http://www.cac.org)
Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.