Accountability and Support

“Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monthly Focus on Action

“I will make you fishers of men.”
M1.   What apostolic success did the Lord accomplish through me during the past 30 days to extend the kingdom? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M2.  With what apostolic failure did the Lord wish to test me during the past 30 days? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M3.  How did I fulfill last month’s plan?
M4.  What do I need to work on?

Discussion Questions for August 27, 2017 Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading 

Isaiah 22:19-23
Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:
"I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
and gird him with your sash,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim's shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a place of honor for his family."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Are there ways in which Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, is a prototype in this reading of the ultimate leader, Christ. What does Eliakim have in common with Peter? How does the “key” mentioned in this reading relate to the “keys” in the Gospel?

F2. God says he will fix Eliakim like a peg in a sure spot to be a place of honor for his family. This and other metaphors in the First Reading indicate God’s support for him. What other qualities or virtues do you look for in Church leadership, besides having a solid faith?

Second Reading 

Romans 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given the Lord anything
that he may be repaid?
For from him and through him and for him are all things. 
To him be glory forever. Amen.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. “For who has know the mind of the Lord?” Are you good at discernment of God’s presence in your actions? Are you able to know where God is leading you, or what God is doing in your life?

S2. Can you see your whole life as a way to worship God? Does your fear ever give way to love?

Gospel 

Matthew 16:13-20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 
Jesus said to him in reply,
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. 
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1.  To answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am,” you have to know him. Which of the following could help you know Jesus:

successes
weaknesses
family
flowers
homeless people
music by Vivaldi
Michelangelo's David
a good homily
a good book
good friends
suffering
joy

Can you find (and get to know) God in all things?

G2. Discuss Pope Francis’ Morning Meditation from February 20, 2014:

We come to know him “in the daily encounter with the Lord, each day. Through our victories and through our weaknesses.” …
We come to know Jesus … as disciples on the path of life, following behind him … This is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is a great worker: he is not a union organizer, [but] he is a great worker. And he is always at work in us: and he carries out this great work of explaining the mystery of Jesus, and of giving us the mind of Christ.

Pope Francis, But who do you say that I am?

 

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.