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
Discussion Questions for August 21, 2016 Sunday Mass
21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.
First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. The Israelis were the chosen people. They remain so. But God extended the same “chosenness” to others. How has this worked out through the ages? Have Christians always honored their ancestors, the Jewish people? Do you think God wants your involvement in the unity of all humankind? What can you do?
F2. From the beginning it was God’s plan to save all humankind. Can you help others in this plan? Are people being excluded? Can you think of anything your parish or the Church as a whole could do to be more inclusive?
Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. The Second Reading tells us to “strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.” What happens to athletes who don’t exercise? Can you become spiritually “flabby”? Do you ever “work out” spiritually on your own? How? What good does St. Paul say will come from such “discipline”?
S2. From what you know of the lives of the saints, did/does God handle the saints with “kid gloves”? What about you—how does God handle you? Would you like softer treatment? What is the relationship between God’s love and hardships along the spiritual path?
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. “We ate and drank in your company.” Is membership in a particular church an automatic “opening” of the narrow gate? Is the narrow gate open to all of humankind? Can people of all religions receive grace? God is always creating you, moment to moment; do you think God ever stops offering you moments of grace?
G2. Pope Francis asks, “What does Jesus mean? Through which door should we enter? And why does Jesus speak of a narrow door?”
The image of the door recurs in the Gospel on various occasions and calls to mind the door of the house, of the home, where we find safety, love and warmth. Jesus tell us that there is a door which gives us access to God’s family, to the warmth of God’s house, of communion with him. This door is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 10:9). He is the door. He is the entrance to salvation. He leads us to the Father and the door that is Jesus is never closed. This door is never closed it is always open and to all, without distinction, without exclusion, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. …
I ask you: are you Christians by label or by the truth? And let each one answer within him- or herself! Not Christians, never Christians by label! Christians in truth, Christians in the heart. Being Christian is living and witnessing to faith in prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, in doing good. The whole of our life must pass through the narrow door which is Christ.
Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, August 25, 2013
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.