Discussion Questions

First Reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

F1. Is there any growth without tension? Would the Church be better off if there were never dissension and debate? Which is a sign of life: Paul and Barnabas going to Jerusalem to work out the Judean people’s objections, or the two “sides” staying as far away from each other as possible?

F2. Does the “letter” in the 2nd paragraph of this First Reading represent a solution? Discuss the value of both listening and representing your own point of view when coming together to work out a problem. How are your listening skills? Do you try to see the other person’s point of view?

Second Reading: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23

S1. What kind of vision are we reading in the Second Reading? Is it literal? If so, since the temple had been the symbol of God’s presence for so many centuries, why is it left out in John’s vision? Do the “names of the twelve tribes” and the “names of the twelve apostles” on the gates and stones of the city close the chasm between the Old Testament Jews and the New Testament Christians?

S2. In this reading John talks about the “Lamb,” present with the twelve apostles. Why is Christ called the Lamb (which we repeat in every Mass: “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world … ”)? Has he been a sacrificial victim?

Gospel: John 14:23-29

G1. The second great gift in this reading is the promise of the Holy Spirit, who will teach us everything. Do you think there could be a direct proportion between how much a person loves and how much that person allows the Holy Spirit to live within him/herself?

G2. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, … and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. … Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” How does Pope Francis’ greeting to the participants in the International Congress on Catechesis include these two ideas from this Gospel?

(The story of Jonah) teaches us not to be afraid of going outside our ways of thinking in order to follow God, because God always goes beyond. ... God is not afraid! ... God is not afraid of the peripheries. If you go to the peripheries, you will find Him there. ... If a catechist allows himself to be conquered by fear, he is a coward; ... What I want to say now, I have already said many times before, but it comes from my heart … When we Christians are closed in our group, in our movement, in our parish, in our own environment, we remain closed and what happens to us is what happens to whatever remains closed: when a room is closed the odor of humidity gathers. … A Christian … remains closed and becomes ill.

International Congress on Catechesis
Vatican City, September 28, 2013

Anne Osdieck

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson