Discussion Questions

Holy Thursday

First Reading/Second Reading
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

FS1. While celebrating the Passover meal Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” What did he mean by “this”? Could “this,” also mean a reenactment, i.e.” lay down our lives also, as Jesus did?

FS2. In Evangelii Gaudium, No. 47, Pope Francis says this about the Eucharist:

The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.

Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation Of the Holy Father, Francis

How is the Eucharist nourishment for you when you are weak? When might you need the Eucharist more, when you are weak or when you are strong?

Gospel
John 13:1-15

G1. “Do you realize what I have done for you,” Jesus asks. What exactly did Jesus do for us when he washed the disciples’ feet? Do you think they realized at the time what was going on? When do you think they understood? How are the washing of the feet and the Eucharist related?

G2. What are some ways you can “wash your neighbors’ feet? Are there degrees of service to your neighbor? How high would you place “putting up with your neighbor”? How about “laying down your life”?

Holy Friday

First Reading
Isaiah 52:13-53:12

F1. Explain: “And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

F2. The First Reading says, “Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” What does this statement mean to you? Who are the “many?” Whose guilt does he bear?

Second Reading
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

S1. How does the following statement of Pope Francis relate to “let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy,” in this reading?

  Jesus is never far from us sinners. He wants to pour out on us, without limit, all of his mercy.

Pope Francis, Twitter account
24 March 2014

S2. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” What does this mean to you? Why do we need a “sympathetic high priest”?

Gospel
Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to
John 18:1-19:42

1. “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” To what “truth” is Jesus testifying? Did Jesus come to dwell among us so we would know this truth? Is truth related to love? How? What does “truth” mean to you? How can you testify to this in your life?

2. To what degree are you willing to testify to the truth?

3. “If you release him, you are not a friend of Caesar.” Do you make your decisions according to what you think is right, or according to what will bring you more friends?

4. “I thirst.” Was this thirst of Jesus for a drink or was it for all of us, and our love? How do you respond to such a thirst in your everyday life? For what do you thirst?

5. Here is Pope Francis’ statement about our thirst, for discussion:

 Man is like a traveler who, crossing the deserts of life, has a thirst for living water, gushing and fresh, capable of quenching his deep desire for light, love, beauty and peace. We all feel this desire! And Jesus gives us this living water: it is the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and who Jesus pours into our hearts. Jesus tells us that “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Pope Francis, General Audience, May 8, 2013

Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday

First Reading
Acts 10:34a, 37-43

F1. What does the word “witnesses” in this sentence signify? “We are witnesses of all that he did”? Peter uses it both as a noun  (meaning “observer”) and a verb (meaning “corroborate,” “testify”).  So it is something you can be and do. Be: how are you a witness? Do: what is your action to witness to the truth?

F2. Should we witness with more than words? Peter bore different witness after the Resurrection than he did before Christ died. To what do you attribute this? Maybe he was consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel? Is the source of strength for Peter, then, the same source for us?

Second Reading
Colossians 3:1-4

S1. “Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” (See later in this chapter of Colossians for Paul’s meaning of “above.”) He says that we should put on heartfelt compassion. What does compassion look like in our immediate world and in the larger one? Discuss Pope Francis’ statement below:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).
[The above rule] points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

Pope Francis, Address to US Congress

S2. One of Paul’s last directives (Col 3:15) is to let the peace of Christ control our hearts. How do you do that when you’re feeling confused or paralyzed with fear, or depressed? Where do you find help?

Gospel
(Easter Vigil & Easter Sunday)
Luke 24: 1-12
Easter: John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12

G1. The same women who came to anoint his body in the morning had been with Jesus when he died. Were the women deterred from their task by fear or an immovable stone? Compare and contrast their behavior with the actions of some others of Jesus’ disciples. Think about events like the Selma march, people like Gandhi and Dorothy Day. Were they stopped by fear? Where is your courage on a scale of 1 to 10?

G2. What is it that allowed John to “see and believe,” to have this kind of clarity? Does love give you knowledge about a person, or insights into their behavior? In John, Jesus said “Whoever loves me. … I will love him (her) and reveal myself to him (her)” (Jn: 14-21). Is there a connection between Jesus’ statement and John’s “seeing and believing”?

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson