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 – Luke 13:1-9
1. Jesus rejects the idea that personal misfortune is God’s punishment for sin. Yet a serious illness or accident can serve as a wake-up call for how we live our lives. How have such experiences given you a greater appreciation of the value of your life and relationships, and of the time and opportunities at your disposal?
2. ‘I’ll wait till tomorrow to do that.’ Have you ever said that and then found the chance is gone the next day? In the story we are called to recognise God at work in our lives and respond to Him. Now is the opportune moment. When have you been glad you did not put off action to the following day?
3. Perhaps there have been times when you saw yourself like the tree in the parable – useless, merely a waste of space, unable to achieve what you wanted. Think of friends who came to you at such a time, people who saw your potential and were prepared to give you another chance, people who also dug the soil around you and gave you the help you needed to grow. Perhaps in your turn you have been able to do this for others. 
– John Byrne, OSA

The Deep End
Today’s Gospel brings a thorny question for Jesus, as the people ask why a number of Galileans were killed by the Romans as they made sacrifices to God. The basic question is why do bad things happen to certain people? Some Jewish leaders at the time viewed the Galileans as second-class Jews, and so they are raising more than a question about meaningless suffering here. They want to know if the Galileans suffered because they were not really ‘Jewish enough.’ Jesus responds with a sharp question about a recent tragedy involving those killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them. Were they worse offenders than others in Jerusalem? No. Jesus responds further by focusing on those who are still living. In the parable of the fig tree we hear that the tree is not producing any fruit and probably should be cut down. However, the owner of the vineyard agrees to one more year, during which it is given special attention.
Jesus’ response to the difficult question on suffering is to focus on the living. We are still alive and therefore should be producing much fruit. Perhaps those who are questioning Jesus need, like the fig tree, much fertiliser, nourishment and growth so that they can focus on producing fruit for the world. The fig tree is blessed, and has received much grace in terms of time and care. The parable is a reminder to all of us of the nourishment and time we have been given; it is a call to examine the fruits that we produce in this world, in our communities, our families and in our church.  – Jane Mellett, Pastoral Worker, Dublin

(from Intercom)

 

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Meditation on the Stations of the Cross
1. Jesus is condemned to death. Do I ever criticise others, blame others? Do I recognise my own fault before I look for the faults of others?
2. Jesus takes up the Cross. Do I accept crosses or burdens in my life without complaint? Do I ever load burdens onto others?
3. Jesus falls the first time. When I fall or make mistakes do I get up again or am I inclined to give up?
4. Jesus meets his mother. Do I recognise the hurt even unintentional that my life can cause to others especially those I love the most?
5. Simon helps Jesus carry the Cross. Am I always grateful to those who offer me help or who share a burden with me?
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. Do I always recognise Christ’s image in others and can others see the image of Christ in me?
7. Jesus falls the second time. If at first I don’t succeed do I keep trying – do I persevere?
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. Even when I’m weighed down by the difficulties of my own life am I always ready and willing to help others and to put their needs before my own?
9. Jesus falls the third time. Am I ever the cause of others falling or do I comment on the faults or failures of others?
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments. Am I willing to deprive myself of attachment to material things to give more time to God?
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross. Can I bear pain without always seeking instant relief? Am I ever guilty of causing pain to others?
12. Jesus dies on the Cross. Am I willing to die to my own sinfulness and selfishness? Do I always want my own way?
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross. Have I a devotion to Mary in my life? As Jesus gave us His Mother from the Cross do I accept Mary as my Heavenly Mother who intercedes for me?
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb. Do I live my life in such a way that I can be confident the grave will not be the end for me but that I will share in Christ’s Resurrection?
 
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