Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, 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 make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to 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?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Introduce the Gospel
On this Sunday we encounter in our scripture readings ………
Probably all of us have experience of “small town Ireland” (or wherever). The limited set of expectations limits what we can see and recognise in others. It may even be that we are both victims and perpetrators! Familiarity does not always breed esteem. This is even true in the faith: we can be so “familiar” with it all that any sense of energy or newness has long since dissipated. And yet, we should allow ourselves to be surprised by the God of surprises: “See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) This newness of the Gospel is more radical than mere novelty: it is a new creation in Christ. New wine, new wineskins!
From Kieran O’Mahony Hearers of the Word for this Sunday
Read the Gospel – Luke 4:21-30
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’
But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’
And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.
‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’
When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.
Reflect on the Gospel using Imaginative Prayer
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.
See here also some popular methods for engaging with scripture and leading into contemplation.
When you are ready, move onto reflecting on what took place in the Gospel, either sitting with the passage and your own reflection on it or using one or more of the following prompts for reflection arising from the Gospel.
- The people of Nazareth could not accept that this local boy was one to teach them. It can be difficult for us to see those close to us as people through whom God is going to reveal some truth to us. Yet what a difference when we drop our prejudices and are open to what is being said. Perhaps you have experienced this?
- The anger of the people arose when Jesus confronted them with God’s inclusive ways. God was ‘their God’ and God’s blessings were for them. Jesus reminded them that this is not God’s way. When have you been challenged to think in new ways and not to be excluding some people from your thoughts or concerns? Was there good news for you in the challenge?
- Jesus continued his work despite the opposition. Have there been times when despite opposition you have been able to ‘walk through the people’ and ‘continue on your way’? Have you seen this courage in others?
Pointers to Prayer by: John Byrne OSA—Intercom
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 the Readings in written or on video.
The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.
The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.