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 February 25, 2018
Second Sunday of Lent

First Reading 

Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he replied.
Then God said:
"Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, 
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you."

When they came to the place of which God had told him, 
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven, 
"Abraham, Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he answered.
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God, 
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."
As Abraham looked about, 
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: 
"I swear by myself, declares the LORD, 
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son, 
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; 
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies, 
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. “In Genesis 15:5 God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. It is to this promise that Abraham clings as he raises the knife to kill his son. Where do you fall on the continuum when blind trust is required of you, with 1 being low and 10 being high?

F2. Sometimes new things can make us fearful because we are not the ones in charge. We feel more secure when we have things under our control. Is it hard to abandon yourself to blind trust? What within you can help you with that trust?

Second Reading 

Romans 8:31b-34
Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all, 
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?
Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised— 
who also is at the right hand of God, 
who indeed intercedes for us.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. The Old Testament describes “Emmanuel,” as God with us. This reading says God is not only with us, but for us. “Christ indeed intercedes for us.” Explain how this statement could be a real antidepressant.

S2. How does intervening “for” someone, taking a stand for him or her, him or her relate to the commandment, “love your neighbor?” For whom can you intervene? Do you ever do it?

Gospel 

Mark 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them, 
and his clothes became dazzling white, 
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, 
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents: 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; 
from the cloud came a voice, 
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves, 
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1.  It took a blinding light for Peter, James and John to begin to see some hint of who Jesus was. Think of some problems in your country that need such illumination (for instance, immigration, human trafficking, environment). What needs to happen in these areas before you would be able to see something divine in them?

G2. Pope Francis speaks about the Transfiguration. In his view, what needs to happen when we climb the mountain? Come down from the mountain?

We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord. This we do in prayer. But we cannot stay there! Encounter with God in prayer inspires us anew to “descend the mountain” and return to the plain where we meet many brothers weighed down by fatigue, sickness, injustice, ignorance, poverty both material and spiritual.

Pope Francis, Angelus, Second Sunday of Lent
16 March 2014

 

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.