Accountability and Support

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monthly Focus on Nurturing Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for December 09, 2018 Sunday Mass

Second Sunday in Advent

First Reading

Baruch 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.

First Discussion Questions
F1. “Led away on foot by their enemies … ”  Led or chased, is this happening today as well as in the time of Baruch? Where is the hope for the refugee suffering in exile today? Can you help God lower “the lofty mountains” or “fill the depths and gorges” for them in any way? How?

F2. God gave Jerusalem the name “the Peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.” How does this name fit the Church today? If poorly, what would you do to make it fit? What would you like God to name your parish, your community, you?

Second Reading

Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, 
because of your partnership for the gospel 
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it 
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness, 
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more 
in knowledge and every kind of perception, 
to discern what is of value, 
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 
filled with the fruit of righteousness 
that comes through Jesus Christ 
for the glory and praise of God.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. As you remain on the path, or The Way, St. Paul says that “the one who began a good work in you will complete it.” Who is the instigator of the good work in you? Who do you trust, yourself or God to complete your good works?

S2. What challenge is Pope Francis asking the Bishops to confront? “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value. … ” Would he have them/us remain silent on refugees, environment, trafficking problems, or to discern answers?

I encourage you, then, my brothers, to confront the challenging issues of our time. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges. … The innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature—at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.

Meeting with the Bishops of the United States of America
September 23, 2015

Gospel Reading

Luke 3: 1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, 
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, 
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis, 
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, 
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, 
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1. Why does Luke name the historical references in the beginning of this Gospel reading? Does it help you to locate John the Baptist in history books?

G2. “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” What are the implications for humanity in this saying? Is the entire world included in this plan? What are the implications for you? Do you watch all year round for God’s coming? What are some of the ways God comes to you everyday?

**From Saint Louis University & Anne Osdieck

Suggested Strategies for Managing the Clock

  • For those with smaller groups or those who have the luxury of enough allotted time, it is suggested that the group cover each question from the monthly focus through the Gospel discussion questions

  • For those with larger groups or don't have the luxury of operating on God's Time, it is suggested that the group cover the monthly focus question and then feel free to skip around and attempt to answer only a few questions - whether that’s just the gospel, or the second reading and gospel, etc.