Accountability and Support

“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.”
– Proverbs 27:17

Monthly Focus on Study

What have I studied during the past 30 days to help me better understand the gifts of God?
M1.   Bible Reading
M2.  Books of Formation
M3.  Periodicals
M4.  Other

Discussion Questions for August 20, 2017
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.

The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants—
all who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
for my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  God offers saving mercy to all people. Do you find yourself included in this mercy, or among those who ignore it?

F2. Do you spend a lot of your time with folks who are “joyful in God’s house of prayer”? Are you joyful too? How do you “observe what is right,” and “do what is just”?

Second Reading

Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles. 
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them. 
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. 
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy. 
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” According to St. Paul’s statement, will God ever have a change of mind and stop loving us? “Even if we are faithless he is faithful, because he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Explain.

S2.  St. Paul says that the Israelites disobeyed yet received mercy; the Gentiles disobeyed and received mercy. Mercy is a profound characteristic of God. In today’s Gospel, trace Jesus’ loving mercy to the Canaanite woman.

Gospel

Matthew 15:21-28
At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
"Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! 
My daughter is tormented by a demon." 
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. 
Jesus' disciples came and asked him,
"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."
He said in reply,
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, "Lord, help me." 
He said in reply,
"It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs." 
She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters." 
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
"O woman, great is your faith! 
Let it be done for you as you wish." 
And the woman's daughter was healed from that hour.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. What is it about her statement, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters,” that prompts Jesus to grant her request? Do you think Jesus might have understood his mission from his Father better, during this conversation?

G2. What risk did the Canaanite woman take when she cried, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David”! Who are the risk takers today? Is anything gained without risk?

The woman who was sick took a risk when she furtively touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak: she risked being ridiculed. But she risked: because she wanted to be cured, she wanted to reach Jesus. Remember the Canaanite woman: women risk more than men do! That’s true: they are better at it! We have to admit that. …

Do I take risks, or do I follow Jesus according to the rules of my insurance company? … Do I put my faith in Jesus? Do I entrust my life to Jesus? Am I walking behind Jesus even if sometimes I seem ridiculous? Or am I sitting still, watching what others are doing?

Pope Francis, Homily, Mass in Chapel of Santa Marta
January 13, 2017

**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.