Accountability and Support

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”
–James 5:16

Monthly Focus on Resisting Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of my resistance to Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for April 29, 2018 Sunday Mass
Fifth Sunday of Easter

First Reading

Acts 9:26-31
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. What motivated Paul to speak out boldly? Think of examples of people who speak out in order to bring about changes in social justice. Name some ways you can “speak out” using your voice or not. 

F2. Pope Francis speaks out boldly in his own life, and in his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, encouraged his charges to speak frankly, without fear, and to bear the courage of their convictions, just as the early apostles did. What injustice cries out to you to speak out boldly against it?

“The Church's message is the message of the path of openness”
Pope Francis,10-12 September 2017

Second Reading

1 John 3:18-24
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. St. John says to “walk the walk, not just to talk the talk.” Where do you fit on a continuum between walkers and talkers?

S2. What would your world look like if every day you performed a kind deed for some unsuspecting person? Who would benefit from these acts?

Gospel

John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. You (the branches) remain in Jesus (the vine), whose life runs through you. How does his life running through you relate to your asking God for whatever you want and it being done for you? How could you use this Gospel to explain Paul’s actions in the first reading?

G2. “And every one that [bears fruit] he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Have you ever felt like you were being “pruned?” Explain. At times do you have “dead wood” that needs to be pruned? Discuss.

Anne Osdieck

**From Saint Louis University & Anne Osdieck

Suggested Strategies for Managing the Clock

For those with smaller groups or those who have the luxury of enough allotted time, it is suggested that the group cover each question from the monthly focus through the Gospel discussion questions
For those with larger groups or don't have the luxury of operating on God's Time, it is suggested that the group cover the monthly focus question and then feel free to skip around and attempt to answer only a few questions - whether that’s just the gospel, or the second reading and gospel, etc.