F1. This reading contains both a leader shepherding his flock in the majestic name of the Lord but coming from Bethlehem, too small to be among the clans of Judah. With “majesty” at one end of the continuum and “poverty” at the other, where do you think the Church falls? Have you seen Church leaders choose the less elegant shoes or cars or jewelry? Which would you choose?
F2. If you were expecting a majestic ruler how would you have felt about the stable and manger? When you experience poverty in your life, do you accept it as a meeting place with God or do you run from it?
S1. What does “once and for all” mean? Is it that Jesus’ coming to do his Father’s will, completes the New Covenant and sanctifies us all?
S2. What is the mission of the Messiah? Why is Christ’s offering presented as effective whereas the “sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings” of the Old Covenant are made to seem less so?
G1. The infant “leaped for joy” in Elizabeth’s womb at the recognition of the soon to be born savior. Discuss this moment as mankind’s welcome to the savior. How close do you come to leaping for joy when you recognize God’s presence in your life?
G2. Pope Francis says Mary not only carries the gift of Jesus to Elizabeth, but to all of humanity. Jesus takes human flesh from Mary for his mission of salvation because she is humble. How is my humility?
… When Mary arrives, joy overflows and gushes from their hearts, because the invisible but real presence of Jesus fills everything with meaning: life, family, the salvation of the people. Everything! This joy is expressed in [the] Magnificat. It is a song of praise to God who works great things through humble people, unknown to the world, as is Mary herself, as is her spouse Joseph, and as is the place where they live, Nazareth.
The great things God has done with humble people, the great things the Lord does in the world with the humble, because humility is like a vacuum that leaves room for God. … I would like to ask you—and also myself—but do not answer out loud—each of you respond in your heart: “How is my humility”?
Pope Francis Angelus Saint Peter's Square
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
**From Saint Louis University