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 March 4, 2018
Third Sunday of Lent

First Reading

Exodus 20:1-17
In those days, God delivered all these commandments:
"I, the LORD, am your God, 
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves
in the shape of anything in the sky above
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness
on the children of those who hate me, 
down to the third and fourth generation; 
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished
the one who takes his name in vain.

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work, 
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, 
or your male or female slave, or your beast, 
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, 
the sea and all that is in them; 
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

"Honor your father and your mother, 
that you may have a long life in the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, 
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 
nor anything else that belongs to him."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  If there were ten commandments, why would Jesus say that there were only two? Why is love—love God and love your neighbor—the basis of all the others?

F2. Why do you think the Ten Commandments have survived all the way from the time of Moses? Is there more in each one than we ordinarily see? For instance, could respect for life could be extrapolated from “Thou shalt not kill.” Try some others.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Brothers and sisters:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 
but we proclaim Christ crucified, 
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, 
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, 
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. After Jesus drives out the money changers in the Gospel, the people ask: “What sign can you show us for doing this?” What did Paul proclaim as the sign and the wisdom for those who are called? Without faith would you recognize a vulnerable, rejected Christ as the wisdom of God?

S2. To what do the “foolishness” and “weakness” of God refer? St. Paul says the Jews had a problem accepting Christ crucified. What about you: how do you accept him? And what about the crosses in your own life? Are they “stumbling blocks” or stepping stones for you?

Gospel

John 2:13-25
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, 
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, 
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables, 
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here, 
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, 
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them, 
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said, 
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, 
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, 
his disciples remembered that he had said this, 
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, 
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Jesus drove the salespeople out of the temple. Why? And, if you are a temple too, “a temple of the Holy Spirit,” what are the implications for you? Is there anything that needs to be shown the exit, or “driven out”?

G2. How does Pope Francis say Jesus cleanses our temples? With whips or caresses?

Ask the Lord that, as he went to cleanse the temple, he may come to cleanse your soul. We imagine that he comes with a whip of cords. ... No, he doesn’t cleanse the soul with that! Do you know what kind of whip Jesus uses to cleanse our soul? Mercy. Open your heart to Jesus’ mercy! Say: “Jesus, look how much filth! Come, cleanse. Cleanse with your mercy, with your tender words, cleanse with your caresses.” If we open our heart to Jesus’ mercy, in order to cleanse our heart, our soul, Jesus will trust Himself to us.

Homily of His Holiness, Pope Francis
Third Sunday of Lent,
8 March 2015

 

**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.