Page 1


Copyright © 2015 RENEW International All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The text of The Ritual for the Enthronement of the Bible in the Family is adapted from the book: Guidelines for the Celebration of Bible Day © 2014 St. Paul Communications/Daughters of St. Paul, P. O. Box 49026, Nairobi, Kenya. Used with permission. All rights reserved. RENEW International 1232 George Street Plainfield, NJ 07062-1717 www.renewintl.org Nihil Obstat Reverend Christopher M. Ciccarino, S.S.L., S.T.D. Reverend Lawrence E. Frizzell, S.T.L, S.S.L., D.Phil. Reverend Lawrence Porter, S.T.L., S.T.B., Ph.D. Dianne Traflet, J.D., S.T.D. Reverend Monsignor C. Anthony Ziccardi, S.T.D., S.S.L. Archdiocese of Newark Censoribus Librorum Imprimatur Most Reverend John J. Myers, J.C.D., D.D. Archbishop of Newark Cover design by Ruth Markworth Book design by Kathrine Forster Kuo ISBN: 978-1-62063-105-8 Printed and bound in the United States of America


Contents

Foreword...................................................................................................... vii Welcome to the RENEW Scripture Series............................................. ix Presenting RENEW International.............................................................x Use of this Book for Individual Reflection............................................. xi Instructions for Group Leaders.............................................................. xii Faith Sharing in a Small Group.............................................................. xiv Faith-Sharing Principles and Guidelines............................................. xvii The Structure and Flow of a Session................................................... xviii Abbreviations of Books of the Bible...................................................... xix Introduction................................................................................................ xx 1. The Annunciation to Zechariah..........................................................1 Luke 1:1-25 2. The Annunciation to Mary...................................................................8 Luke 1:26-38 3. Mary Visits Elizabeth......................................................................... 15 Luke 1:39-56 4. Two World-Transforming Births..................................................... 22 Luke 1:57-80 and 2:1-20 5. Jesus is Presented in the Temple...................................................... 31 Luke 2:21-52 6. The Baptism of Jesus........................................................................... 38 Luke 3:1-38 7. Jesus is Tempted.................................................................................. 46 Luke 4:1-13 8. The Ministry of Jesus Begins............................................................. 52 Luke 4:14-30 9. Disciples Share the Ministry............................................................. 59 Luke 4:31-5:11 10. Conflict with the Learned Ones....................................................... 66 Luke 5:12-26 Reflection on the Law: Lord of the Sabbath......................................... 74 Luke 5:27-39 and 6:1-11 11. All Can Respond to the Word........................................................... 76 Luke 6:12-26 12. The Teaching about Love................................................................... 83 Luke 6:27-49 13. Lives Are Transformed...................................................................... 89 Luke 7:1-50 and 8:1-3 14. The Ministry: Healing and Teaching............................................. 102 Luke 8:4-56 15. Give Them Something to Eat.......................................................... 110 Luke 9:1-50 16. Jerusalem within Sight..................................................................... 126 Luke 9:51-62 and 10:1-24


Contents

17. The Good Samaritan........................................................................ 136 Luke 10:25-42 18. The Lord’s Prayer............................................................................... 144 Luke 11:1-13 19. One Greater than Solomon............................................................. 151 Luke 11:14-54 20. Be Prepared........................................................................................ 160 Luke 12:1-13:9 21. Great Faith from a Small Start........................................................ 171 Luke 13:10-35 22. Humility and Charity........................................................................ 180 Luke 14:1-35 23. The Value of Love.............................................................................. 188 Luke 15:1-32 24. Wise Teachings.................................................................................. 198 Luke 16:1-31 25. About Faith......................................................................................... 207 Luke 17:1-19 26. We Live Now in God’s Kingdom.................................................... 214 Luke 17:20-37 27. Justice and Mercy.............................................................................. 221 Luke 18:1-14 28. The Poor Rejoice................................................................................ 228 Luke 18:15-43 and 19:1-27 29. Jesus Enters Jerusalem...................................................................... 242 Luke 19:28-48 and 20:1-26 30. Challenges........................................................................................... 254 Luke 20:27-47 and 21:1-38 31. Passover and the Last Supper......................................................... 265 Luke 22:1-38 32. Prayer on the Mount of Olives....................................................... 274 Luke 22:39-65 33. Jesus Judged by Pilate and Herod................................................... 280 Luke 22:66-71 and 23:1-25 34. The Crucifixion.................................................................................. 287 Luke 23:26-49 35. Resurrection and the Empty Tomb............................................... 296 Luke 23:50-56 and 24:1-12 36. From Jerusalem to Emmaus............................................................ 302 Luke 24:13-53 APPENDIX 1: Lectio Divina.................................................................. 310 APPENDIX 2: Ritual for Enthroning the Bible at Home................. 311 APPENDIX 3: The Literary Segments of the Gospel....................... 313 APPENDIX 4: Sunday Readings from the Gospel of Luke.............. 314


1

SESSION

The Annunciation to Zechariah

FOCUS

We need to be sensitive to the divine invitation to change.

Opening Song You may choose one of the following from the virtual CD Music for Luke: My Spirit Rejoices! Track 1: “The Age of Expectation,” Bobby Fisher/Ed Gutfreund Track 2: “Magnificat,” David Haas Go to www.renewintl.org/Luke and click on “Download music” to go to the playlist. To buy the album, click “Download all MP3s.” To buy individual songs, click “Add to Cart” to the right of each title and then click either “Continue Shopping,” or click “View Cart/Checkout” to conclude the purchase.

Opening Prayer We place ourselves before you, O Lord, conscious of your overwhelming love that has given us a world of abundance. We pray that all your children may share in it. We thank you for the continuing presence of your Son, our brother Jesus, who shares with us the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We thank you for our family through whom your love is now extended to us. May we hear your word with untroubled attention so that we may share your love with all who meet us today. Amen.

Breaking Open God’s Word Luke 1:1-25 — The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

1


1

SESSION

Reflect Reflect for a moment in silence. What word, phrase, or image from the scripture reading touches your heart or speaks to your life?

Enter into the Biblical Story We stand in the courtyard of the Temple, watching as an elderly priest sprinkles incense into a fiery brazier beside an altar next to the Holy of Holies. It is the hour for incense, and the entire community is at prayer. But the priest, Zechariah, is suddenly interrupted in his ministrations. Confused and fearful, he halts his work, and, we learn later, an angel speaks these words to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you will name him John.”1 Then, in beautifully poetic phrases, the angel tells the astonished old man about the child-to-be. People will rejoice at his birth; he will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit; he will have the gift of inspiring people to turn from evil to good. He will prepare all for the coming of their Lord. An extraordinary child is promised, the dream of every parent. “What is this all about?” Zechariah’s sober good sense and life experience tell him in a wry sort of way. Elizabeth’s child-bearing years are over. The appearance of an angel and the strange announcement are impossible to 1 John, in Hebrew Johanan, means “God has shown favor.” We can wonder if Luke’s Greek-speaking audience was able to appreciate this subtle Hebrew-type reference.

2

accept. Great joy is not the experience of the elderly. Promise and hope in new life go with youth. The old priest has seen too much to be roused to joy and tempted to quick belief. It may be a delusion, a trick of impaired hearing or distorted vision. Zechariah cannot accept the revelation about two old bodies bringing forth a lively, dribbling new baby. When Zechariah asks how it all could happen he receives no answer except the identity of the angel. He is Gabriel—yes, from the story of Daniel. Zechariah knows the story very well. Gabriel is the harbinger of good news who announced to Daniel in a Temple that stood on this same mount the end of the most difficult religious persecution in Israel’s history (Dn 9:20-21). The presence of the angel Gabriel, here again, if real, raises a breathtaking possibility: Is this to be another time of great salvation? Because Zechariah cannot accept this marvelous news the poor man is transformed into a most potent negative sign, a priest who cannot speak, who can no longer offer prayers. Because he now questions the possibility that “God is gracious” (the meaning of the name John, the promised baby) the voice of this otherwise upright and blameless priest is silenced.

Luke: My Spirit Rejoices!


1

SESSION

The Old Testament Witness

W

hile the story places Zechariah and Gabriel in the foreground, we recognize the background from another Old Testament story. It is the story of Abraham and Sarah, the first parents of Israel, who in the fabled beginning time (Gn 18:10-15) were also promised a son.

prayers have been heard” (Dn 10:12). Unlike Abraham and Zechariah, Daniel believed the angel because Daniel had already learned the lesson well in his previous crisis-laden experiences: nothing is impossible for God. The angel Gabriel serves as the thread that links the shadowy, unidentified angel who spoke to Abraham and Sarah with Gabriel’s unmistakable identity in the Daniel story and his momentous role here.

Sarah laughed when the mysterious courier from God’s throne told Abraham he would have a son within the year. They were, The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth is of course, too old to bring forth new life. The word “laugh” in Hebrew plays on the name given context, therefore, by the two earlier narratives, the annunciations to Abraham Isaac, the name they will and Daniel. Both of the give their promised son. earlier episodes dramaBut in the story it adds a God indeed can bring forth tize for a new era a lesson touch of irony. The angelic new creations from what well known in the Old messenger, well versed looks old and worn out. Testament: God indeed in the ways of the Lord, can bring forth new crecountered the couple’s ations from what looks old and worn out. light-hearted mockery with his parting question: “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” The annunciation to Zechariah, however, The story of Daniel creates a second flash exceeds the Old Testament messages beyond of meaning that illuminates the story of all imagining. It is the prelude to the annunZechariah. In the Old Testament story, ciation to Joseph and Mary of the birth of Jesus, a gift that will overwhelm the gift of Daniel, while at prayer pleading for God’s mercy for his people, learned from the same Abraham’s son Isaac and will go far beyond angel Gabriel that a new day could dawn with restoring Jerusalem. It will restore the whole world. There is a footnote to this importunparalleled brightness; a new Jerusalem, born of justice, could be brought forth from ant teaching that serves as a caution to the beginning believer: in certain crucial cases, the tired loins of an old bedraggled city (Dn some of the best people in this world cannot 9:1-27). God could and would restore his city easily believe in God’s goodness. and his people. “Do not be afraid, Daniel, your

Session 1: The Annunciation to Zechariah

3


1

SESSION

Reflect Describe an experience in which God answered your prayer in a surprising and unexpected way.

Respond to the Human Experience The story presents us with the good person who senses an insistent call to new possibilities. It is dream-like because it hints of great change while at the same time it presents Zechariah staring in numbness at an established, well-used, seemingly changeless self-identity. What makes change appear unlikely to him is not cynicism but the common-sense wisdom of experience. This is a basic characteristic of the human psyche: we may want to change, but change seems unrealistic and impractical. At precisely this point, contemporary secular thinking and religion offer different approaches to individual change. Religion says, “God is at work. As he created us, he is perfecting us. Open up to what he offers.” Secular thinking says, “Do it yourself when the opportunity comes; nobody else will do it for you.” This thinking suggests reaching for that dream, accepting the new reality that will re-invigorate the personality. Leave the old behind. Envisioning the dream is half the struggle. The step is well worth taking, and the advice is sound. New possibilities seized will bring new realizations. Life is the acceptance of new dimensions of the self. The only drawback is that it can be a lonely struggle and, if successful, a solitary triumph.

4

Religious faith, on the other hand, adds another, highly empowering constituent — God. Religion says that God is offering this new inspiring possibility and with it strength enough to bring it to reality. It says God is in favor of change and growth, of newness, because the self plays a role in a grand drama that extends beyond each person. Each person participates in bringing about divine surprises that constitute a continuing creation. Religious faith is not an interruption of nature but, rather, its poetic expression. The old gnarled root of the near-dead tree, dirt-encrusted, opens a tender new spot through its tough skin to bring forth the shoot of spring, proclaiming symbolically the very same message that would eventually become clear to tired old Zechariah: all is possible for God. This announcement sounds an overture note in a great symphony that ends with the astounding crescendo that is the resurrection-ascension of Christ. Contemporary secular thought and religion, while divided in their respective methods of understanding personal change, find themselves reunited in affirming the story’s practical outcome: accept the inspiration of new possibilities; do not be afraid to let new things happen to you.

Luke: My Spirit Rejoices!


1

SESSION

Reflect Describe a time when you were faced with new possibilities. How did you feel—open or closed? What happened?

What new possibility do you feel God is calling you to today?

Respond to God’s Word Taking the place of the main character, Zechariah, in this segment of the story, I hear the voice of the angel proclaiming the possibility of a breakthrough within my familiar old self. Even the youngest can have familiar, entrenched “old selves.” Change cannot affect only me. It can be good for the many others who relate to me. I can be part of a plan that God is initiating from which unknown others can benefit. The graciousness of God can extend and reverberate far beyond me. I would have a place in God’s development of creation.

a coalition between God and me? Can I voice my acceptance? In rhythm with Zechariah, and in my heart of hearts, I find it very difficult to believe, even though, as in the case of Zechariah, it is exactly what I have prayed for. I relate to those moments in my life when I believed that no new spiritual growth was possible for me. Thus, the blindness of heart, as with Zechariah. In my prayer I try to proclaim, echoing Zechariah’s new-found joy, “God is gracious”, John’s name. I pray to leave the dark side of my spiritual personality and open my heart to new insights and affections.

How can it be, given that I am already old in my ways, if not in years? How can it happen,

Invitation to Act

This session is about new possibilities. To what kind of action does this inspire you?

Session 1: The Annunciation to Zechariah

5


1

SESSION

Reflect Write about at least one area of your life in which you believe you have grown “old” or “stale.” Then, write two or three sentences that begin with the words “I want to …”

I want to ....

I want to ....

I want to ....

Pray Pray to discern whether God is calling you to fulfill these goals. Ask God to open your heart to a new insight or affection. What words would you use?

6

Luke: My Spirit Rejoices!


1

SESSION

Act Do something kind this week that reflects a gracious and merciful God. This week I will ...

Closing Prayer Lord, I hear the voice of the angel proclaiming the possibility of a breakthrough within my familiar old self. How can it be, given that I, like Zechariah, am already set in my ways? You show me that change can affect not only me. I can be a part of your divine plan from which unknown others can benefit. Your graciousness extends and reverberates far beyond me. Open my heart to new insights and affections. Amen.

Looking Ahead Prepare for the next faith-sharing meeting by reading: • Luke 1:26-38 • Session Two: The Annunciation to Mary

Session 1: The Annunciation to Zechariah

7


Visit www.renewintl.org

Sample Session of Luke: My Spirit Rejoices!  

Read this sample of Luke: My Spirit Rejoices!, which covers the entire Gospel of Luke in 36 sessions.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you