Accountability and Support

“Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monthly Focus on Action

“I will make you fishers of men.”
M1.   What apostolic success did the Lord accomplish through me during the past 30 days to extend the kingdom? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M2.  With what apostolic failure did the Lord wish to test me during the past 30 days? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M3.  How did I fulfill last month’s plan?
M4.  What do I need to work on?

Discussion Questions for December 23, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Advent

First Reading 

Micah 5:1-4a

Thus says the LORD:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
and the rest of his kindred shall return
to the children of Israel.
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
and they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

First Reading Discussion Questions
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? 

Second Reading 

Hebrews 10:5-10

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.'"

First he says, "Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings, 
you neither desired nor delighted in."
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, :Behold, I come to do your will."
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this "will," we have been consecrated 
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
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?

Gospel

Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah, 
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb, 
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, 
cried out in a loud voice and said, 
"Blessed are you among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, 
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, 
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

Gospel Discussion Questions

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

 

Anne Osdieck

 

**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.