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 January 13, 2019 Sunday Mass

The Baptism of the Lord

First Reading

First Reading IS 42:1-4, 6-7

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

OR

First Reading IS 40:1-5, 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by a strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

First Discussion Questions
F1. In the alternative reading, God says, ”here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.” Then in the Gospel a voice came from heaven, saying to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” What are the implications?

F2. Wastelands, deserts, rugged land and rough country (Isaiah 40). Could these words describe terrorism in our world today? Election politics? Your spiritual life? Does this reading suggest that there is help in fixing these or do we/you just have to accept it?

Second Reading

Second Reading ACTS 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying: 
"In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites 
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, 
what has happened all over Judea, 
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached, 
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good 
and healing all those oppressed by the devil, 
for God was with him."

OR

Second Reading TI 2:11-14; 3:4-7

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. In the reading from Acts, Peter is quoted as saying this about Jesus: “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.” Compare this with Isaiah in the First Reading: “I formed you … to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

S2. Did we do anything to earn salvation? Why does God give it to us? What does St. Paul in his letter to Titus say about the extravagance of God’s gift to us?

Gospel Reading

Gospel LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
"I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

After all the people had been baptized 
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, 
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove. 
And a voice came from heaven, 
"You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased."

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1. John the Baptist was the middleman. He pointed back to Isaiah and forward to Jesus, connecting the whole plan. What or who are the “middlemen or women” who connect you with God? Can you serve as a middle-one?

G2. At one of his weekly General Audiences Pope Francis explained that our Baptism “is the point of departure for a journey of conversion that lasts our whole life.” His “glimmers of light” signify the light of Christ that enlightens every person. Can you receive “the light of faith” for your brothers and sisters? Can you be a light for someone in darkness?

The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. Baptism illuminates us from within with the light of Jesus. … In virtue of this gift, the baptized are called to become “light”––the light of the faith they have received for their brothers, especially for those who are in darkness and do not perceive glimmers of light on the horizon of their life. … You must take the grace of Baptism that is a gift, and become light for all!

Pope Francis: Take the Grace of Baptism and Become a Light for All

November 13, 2013

**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.