Year A Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

The water I shall give them will become a spring of water within them bubbling up for eternal life …

The Gospels for Lent have all been chosen with an overriding purpose: to provide background instruction for catechumens preparing for baptism at the Easter Vigil. This is particularly obvious with the Gospels for Year A.

Today's Gospel passage has been taken from the Gospel of John, and needs to be heard accordingly. John's Gospel is different from the other three. Effectively, it as a prolonged meditation on the person and saving action of Jesus. It is the fruit of years of prayerful pondering by the community that produced the Gospel, and reflects their experience of the risen Jesus in their lives. Their insights are often cast in the form of a narrative discourse between Jesus and various others, set within the historical life of Jesus. The "dialogue" is not a recorded script of an actual conversation – but a theological or spiritual presentation of the community's sense of Jesus, expressing in their terms what they have come to know of the risen Jesus.

Today's passage is too long to consider everything closely. This reflection will highlight the salient points only.

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Year A Sunday Gospel Reflections by John McKinnon

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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other…


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John McKinnon is a priest of the diocese of Ballarat, Western Victoria, who studied for six years in Rome where he was ordained in 1957. On reaching the age of 75 in 2008, he retired from official parish work and has made himself available for other ministries in the diocese. During his life as priest he has been parish priest, Diocesan chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement, lectured at the Institute of Catholic Education in Ballarat, and worked at a national level in the ongoing education of priests. He has given retreats to priests in most of the dioceses of Australia, as well as to religious and laity. Of recent years, he has been drawn on to give regular spiritual support to priests, religious and laity, particularly in the more isolated areas of his diocese.

John said: "My aim in these talks is to provide background for people who wish to reflect on the Sunday Gospels in the light of their own personal experience and to apply them to their lives. I shall examine each text, seeking to explain details that may not be familiar, and trying to determine the particular nuances of Jesus' message that the author of the gospel wished to emphasise. I shall conclude each talk with three questions that may help people's personal reflection and application of the Gospel's message."

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