Discussion Questions

First Reading
Sirach 15:15-20

1. Which do we choose, life or death? Good or evil? Do we always know which is which? When you don’t know for sure, do you trust in God and go with your best guess? Why did God give us free choice?

2. “The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands [our] every deed.” If so, should we be frightened? Or is God the one who not only understands, but forgives and loves even sinners?

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 2:6-10

1. Discuss a beautiful scene in nature that you like, or your favorite painting, or your most preferred music. Take your time. Now read from the Second Reading what St. Paul tells us God has prepared for those who love him. Can you sense something of what that will be?

2. How is it that the Spirit can scrutinize the depths of God? Discuss ways in which the Spirit scrutinizes you.

Gospel
Matthew 5:17-37

1. Jesus is critical of the Pharisees’ type of righteousness, which focuses on externals. They make sure everyone sees when they fast, pray on street corners, wash hands, etc. How do these things relate to the inner Spirit of the law? How do they relate to loving God and neighbor?

2. In his homily, Pope Francis warned against an excessive rigidity. How does “going beyond the law” in order to love God and neighbor surpass the “righteousness” of the scribes and Pharisees?

Taking his cue from Jesus’ warning to his disciples that unless their righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees they will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Pope Francis stressed the importance of Christian realism. Jesus, he said, asks us to go beyond the laws and love God and neighbor, stressing that whoever is angry with their brother will be liable to judgment.

Pope Francis urged his listeners to recall how Jesus’s request for generosity and holiness is all about going forward and always looking out beyond ourselves. This, he explained, frees us from the rigidity of the laws and from an idealism that harms us.

June 9, 2016
Mass at Santa Marta

Anne Osdieck

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson