Accountability and Support

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monthly Focus on Nurturing Relationship with Christ

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

Discussion Questions for August 13, 2017 Sunday Mass

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading

1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter. 
Then the LORD said to him,
"Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by." 
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire. 
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. 
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

First Discussion Questions
F1. Some of us have to have a “great wind,” an “earthquake,” or a “fire” in our lives before we look for God. But do you ever take time to listen for the “tiny whispering sound”? Could you if you created a quiet time in your life each day?

F2. Discuss the traces of God you find in your life, or the ways God can/does speak to you. When is it easiest to hear? When in your life is it the hardest? At the end of the day do you ask yourself when you saw these traces?

Second Reading

Romans 9:1-5
Brothers and sisters:
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie;
my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness
that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. 
For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh. 
They are Israelites;
theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
theirs the patriarchs, and from them,
according to the flesh, is the Christ,
who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Paul is in “great sorrow and constant anguish” because some of his own people, the Israelites, have not accepted the fact that the Messiah has come. Is this because he wishes the best for them and would even sacrifice himself to help them? What do you do when your loved ones reject some beliefs that are important to you?

S2. How can Paul say, “I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh”? Is it really moral to give away not just your life but your eternal salvation for the sake of others? Or is Paul exaggerating for the sake of emphasis, and should not be taken literally?

Gospel Reading

Matthew 14:22-23
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds. 
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. 
When it was evening he was there alone. 
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea. 
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear. 
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 
He said, "Come." 
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1. Peter was walking toward Jesus and doing fine. What caused him to suddenly sink? What causes you to move away from your “leap of faith”? What do you think would have helped Peter stay afloat? What might help you?

G2. According to Pope Francis, how is the Church today like the boat full of disciples in a storm?

[Here] is an effective image of the Church: a boat which must brave the storms and sometimes seems on the point of capsizing. What saves her is not the skill and courage of her crew members, but faith which allows her to walk, even in the dark, amid hardships. Faith gives us the certainty of Jesus’ presence always beside us, of his hand which grasps us to pull us back from danger. We are all on this boat, and we feel secure here despite our limitations and our weaknesses.

Pope Francis preaching the Angelus, Sunday, August 10, 2014

**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.