Palm Sunday!! It seems wrong, somehow, to be at Palm Sunday; if you’re like me, Lent has gone by like a flash and at the same time felt like an eternity. Well, here we are, ready or not, entering the final (but not final) week of Jesus’ extraordinary story. This is one of those Gospels that is told differently by each Gospel writer, so you may notice some intriguing differences between what you remember and what you hear. It’s also a reading that lends itself so well to what St. Ignatius called “imaginative prayer;” using our imagination to be in the scene, noticing what we feel, hear, see, smell, and notice. You can use this technique in the context of Beta’ inviting your guests to close their eyes while the Gospel is being read, either by a group member or with the audio link at the top of the lesson. One more note: there are two Gospels proclaimed this week, one at the very beginning of the Mass, and one at the usual time. The mid-Mass reading is the account of the Passion; in this week’s Beta, we’ll look at the first (shorter!) Gospel reading. -Margo
We’re side-stepping into the Gospel of John for this Sunday, but still, we are in familiar territory. Check out how your copy of the Bible titles this story; mine (NRSV) calls it “Woman Caught in Adultery” and if that isn’t a mistitle for this story, I don’t know what is. Maybe it could be “Men judging a woman” or “Where’s the other party in this scandal? Is he all set then?” or “the mystery of the sand-writing” or “the moral of this story is for all of us.” I don’t have the power to retitle Bible translations, but I think it’s important to notice them, and what the titles do to draw our attention to some details in the story, and away from others.
After last week’s confusing (or was that just me?) Gospel reading,* we’re back on familiar territory. This week’s reading, about the Prodigal Son, is a long one but full of images and characters and points to ponder, and sometimes our attention is drawn to one part of the story one year, and to another altogether, on a different year. So pay attention to where God is drawing your eye this time around. **If you’re still a bit baffled about last week’s Gospel, be sure to check out last week’s MQOA Sunday podcast!
Here's this week's Beta lesson. Follow along with us as we talk about the reading on our weekly podcast, MQOASunday! www.mqoa.org/podcasts This week’s Gospel comes across as kind of mysterious, so you may get some benefit from reading it more than twice, or by taking a pause between the two parts of the reading. There’s another famous fig tree story in the other synoptic Gospels (Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:12-14.), but there are some definite differences here. I hope your conversations are blessed and… fruitful!
I’m so glad to be back with you, and thankful for your messages of support and your prayers. Thanks for your patience with my unavailability to prepare these lessons; I hope your group was able to have great conversations in my absence. We’re in familiar and important territory here with the Transfiguration. You may want to ask your group members to close their eyes and imagine the scene while it’s being read, for an added layer of engagement with the story. I hope you are having a blessed lent so far, and have great conversations this week.