F1. This Reading has the beginning story of Jewish faith. In your own faith story do you ever cry out to the Lord? Discuss.
F2. What good things came out of the Israelites’ desert sojourn? Metaphorically speaking, is the desert a place you should fear or do you find its mysteries attractive?
S1. In the small places where you live your daily life (in the parish, at work, with family or friends), do you proclaim the Lord? Do your proclamations require words? How can the Church or your parish proclaim itself an “island of mercy in a sea of indifference”?
S2. Are your actions for someone colored by the love you have for that person? The word, who is “near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” is Christ. How often do you remember this? Always? Sometimes? Not often? How would it impact everyone if you did remember?
G1. When an athlete starts to get flabby or lethargic, he/she exercises to get back in shape. Is there an analogy here for your spiritual life? How do you exercise to get into shape spiritually? What would a “flabby” or a lethargic spiritual life look like? How does yours look now?
G2. Pope Francis says going to the desert helps us hear the voice of God in our lives. He also says it helps us strengthen solidarity with our brothers and sisters. How do those two things relate?
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. … That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ. …
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis
**From Saint Louis University