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 March 5, 2017 Sunday Mass
First Sunday of Lent
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
"Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?"
The woman answered the serpent:
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'"
But the serpent said to the woman:
"You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil."
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.
First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. What in the creation story establishes a bond between humans and all other creatures of earth? What establishes a bond between humans and God? Would it be a better world if humans did not have the freedom to choose? Knowing that people would not always resist the temptation to choose evil, why would God ever give the human race free will?
F2. After their sin Adam and Eve wanted to cover their bodies. They did not want to be seen as they really were. Is it easy to be honest about faults? If you do become honest about your failings, what is the next step?
Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world,
though sin is not accounted when there is no law.
But death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who did not sin
after the pattern of the trespass of Adam,
who is the type of the one who was to come.
But the gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one, the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
And the gift is not like the result of the one who sinned.
For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation;
but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal.
For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.
Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. We hear at Easter, “O happy fault! O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” St. Paul says in Sunday’s reading, “But the gift is not like the transgression” (like killing a roach with a nuclear weapon). Why do you think God would go to this extreme to save us?
S2. Pope Francis said “Sometimes we are saddened by the weight of our sins. May we not be discouraged. Christ has come to lift this burden and give us peace.” Does the fact that Christ represents all of us before God and that his obedience outweighs our sins or disobedience explain Pope Francis’s statement? What does all this mean to you?
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread."
He said in reply,
"It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God."
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone."
Jesus answered him,
"Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me."
At this, Jesus said to him,
"Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve."
Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Right after Jesus was baptized and heard the Father’s voice calling him “My Beloved Son,” the Spirit led him to the desert. Jesus probably wanted to think about what those words meant, and to pray about his ministry. The Spirit wanted him to be tested. How does it make you feel to think he had to fight temptation the same way you do?
G2. What desert images hold Lenten meanings for you? Do you ever hear the Spirit calling you to pray when you feel you are in the wilderness? What part did the Spirit play in this Gospel story? What part will you let the Spirit play in your Lent this year?
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.