Accountability and Support

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
– Matthew 18:20

Monthly Focus on Piety

With what spiritual aids have I nourished my vital union with Christ during the past 30 days?
M1.   Morning offering
M2.  Personal Prayer Period
M3.  Mass and Communion
M4.  Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
M5.  Rosary / Devotion to Mary
M6.  Examination of Conscience
M7.  Spiritual Direction

Discussion Questions for January 1, 2017 Sunday Mass
The Octave Day of Christmas Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

First Reading

Numbers 6:22-27
The LORD said to Moses: 
"Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: 
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, 
and I will bless them."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. The word “peace” is a translation of the word “shalom,” which means “every good thing in good measure.” These are God’s own words in this blessing: “The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” What does this tell you about God’s love for you?

F2. Even though sometimes God’s face is hidden from you, do you think “the Lord is looking upon you kindly”? Why is God’s face hidden at times?

Second Reading

Galatians 4:4-7
Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, 
to ransom those under the law, 
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons, 
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
crying out, "Abba, Father!"
So you are no longer a slave but a son, 
and if a son then also an heir, through God
.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1.  What did God do for us that moved us from the status of slaves to that of children of God?

S2. How did the Spirit change the law-based relationship with God that existed before “God sent his Son … to ransom those under the law”? Was the Spirit sent to the heart or the mind?

Gospel

Luke 2:16-21
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. What kind of sense would you make of shepherds and messages from angels and mangers? Did Mary get any final answers from Gabriel or the shepherds? Can you make sense of everything in your life? What do you mull over in your heart? What do you treasure and remember and preserve?

G2. “Son, behold your mother” (Jn 19:27) ! Does Mary now love all people with the same love she had for her son? Pope Francis mentions in his homily for Mary, Mother of God, that Mary shared our condition and that her heart was enlarged through sorrow. How does she help us on difficult and obscure paths in life’s “pilgrimage of faith?”

It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, “Mother of God!” The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness. But it is more: it is the sensus fidei of the holy People of God, which, in its unity, never errs.
 
Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people. “The Church journeys through time… and on this journey she proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary” (Redemptoris Mater, 2). Our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us. As far as faith, the hinge of the Christian life, is concerned, the Mother of God shared our condition. She had to take the same path as ourselves, a path which is sometimes difficult and obscure. She had to advance in the “pilgrimage of faith” (Lumen Gentium, 58). …

Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus.

Pope Francis, Holy Mass on the Solemnity Of Mary,
Mother of God, January 1, 2014

**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.