Points to Ponder

Weekly thoughts on the Sunday Gospel, readings or a topic...

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seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Mark 1:12-15
1. Jesus is about to start his public ministry. Mark tells us this was preceded by a deep inner struggle when his resolve to take on his God-given mission was tested. Recall important decisions in your own life. Were they accompanied by struggle and doubt? Who were the angels who supported you at that time? Give thanks for them.
2. Such periods of anxiety may seem like wilderness experiences at the time. Later, with hindsight, we may see them as being good for us. Perhaps, like Jesus, you recall a time when the Spirit of God led you into the wilderness to be tested and after the experience you had a clearer sense of your own identity or your purpose in life?
3. Repent and believe the good news was the heart of the message of Jesus. It was not a call to penance but to a change of heart, a change of attitude, leading to a change in behaviour. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of right relationships: with God, with one another, with creation, with ourselves. It is a change that leads to a fuller life. When have you found that a change in your attitude towards God, others, yourself, or the world around you, has led you to a more fulfilled or more fruitful life?
4. There is immediacy about the call of Jesus: ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near’. Recall when you had a realisation that NOW was the moment of opportunity – for a change in your life, for a spiritual renewal, or a time to give a wholehearted yes to life. At this moment to what do you believe you are invited to say ‘yes’? 
– John Byrne, OSA

The Deep End
On this first Sunday of Lent, we are invited to embrace the wilderness. At times, we may feel afraid, isolated, alone and uncertain of what the future will bring. However, wilderness can also bring opportunity. It can be a time for deep reflection, where we take stock of what is most important to us, a chance to let go of things that are really not important and focus on where we are being called to be.
Lent is also a time where people give up something, focus on weight loss or getting fit, take on a course, try to better themselves in some way. And these can be good things, but Lent is so much more than that. It is a retreat time, a time to make room for something deeper. It is a spring-cleaning sort of time, an opportunity to ask, ‘what needs clearing out in my life so that I can make more room for God?’ ‘What changes am I being called to embrace?’ Without change we cannot grow, and things fast become stale in our lives. God is always urging us on because God knows just what possibilities there are for each of us. Lent offers us the opportunity to makes space for something new, to let go of that which is keeping us from living life to the full.
The Gospel today is short, Jesus is sent into the wilderness, into the desert, and we too are invited into a desert time. Deserts are interesting places which can allow us to reflect, give ourselves space. It is true that we might encounter our demons there, but we should not be afraid because as the Gospel tells us clearly today, this is a Spirit-led desert. God is with us. Let us try to embrace this wilderness. How we make use of this time determines what will be.
‘You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.’ (Alan Alda)  – Jane Mellett

(from Intercom)

 

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Building Hope
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Pilgrim God, we give you thanks and praise.
You constantly journey with us even in our darkness and doubts.
We seek your way of loving kindness to walk together as one family.
Open our eyes to recognise you in the faces of one another,
in the breaking of bread and in the splendour of creation.
May the risen Christ sow seeds of hope and new life deep within us.
May our hearts and minds be filled with your Word, bringing forth truth, justice and peace.
May the Holy Spirit working in and through us do much more
than we can dare to imagine as we live out our baptismal calling in humble and loving service.
We make this our prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
St Laurence O’Toole, pray for us.
St Kevin, pray for us.
St Brigid, pray for us.

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