Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
F1. Why does Ezra say “today” is holy? What is significant about “today” for Jesus? Do you live in the past or the future? What is the only time you have for sure? What happens to “now” if you spend all your time looking backward or forward?
F2. Each of the readings today is similar in that someone is proclaiming God's word to an asssembly. (Paul was writing to the Corinthians who were fighting over rank and status.) Do you think everything we would ever know was stated during Jesus’ time or does the Holy Spirit give us new insights as we need them?
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
S1. Some people's gift is to diffuse tension in a meeting. Is this kind of gift more or less important than administering the parish, community or diocese? Why? What is your gift to the community?
S2. If you had your choice of gifts which ones would you choose? Why? If you have a gift and you never use it, what will happen to it? Can you name some of your gifts?
Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
G1. Jesus went to Nazareth, his hometown. People there thought of him as Mary and Joseph’s son. Suddenly he claims to be the Messiah. What would your reaction have been to such a declaration?
G2. Jesus said he had been “anointed to bring glad tidings to the poor, ... liberty to captives, ... sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free ... .” Pope Francis names some of today's captives and oppressed in Evangelii Gaudium. What can you do to bring liberty, or make life a little easier for today's captives and oppessed?
It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others. Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. … How I wish that all of us would hear God's cry: “Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Where is the brother and sister whom you are killing each day in clandestine warehouses, in rings of prostitution, in children used for begging, in exploiting undocumented labor? Let us not look the other way.
Evangelii Gaudium, nos. 210-211
**From Saint Louis University