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 January 22, 2017 Sunday Mass
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Isaiah says in the First Reading that “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where recently there was distress.” He was speaking of the ancient lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, but how about today? From where does the “darkness” in today’s world come? Can you think of some recent times when God has dispelled darkness in a significant way?

F2. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” This famous saying from Isaiah is quoted again by Matthew in our Gospel passage (also in the prologue to John’s Gospel and elsewhere). Can you see the darkness in the world today? How can you help bring the “light” into dark areas? Can you think of new ways or places to bring the light?

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe's people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
"I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," 
or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ."
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Pope Francis says that division weakens the credibility and effectiveness of evangelization and risks stripping the Cross of it’s power (cf. 1 Cor 1:17).  In words from his Audience below, what is one thing we could do to end these divisions, which sadly still exist in the Church today? 

It is beautiful to recognize the grace with which God blesses us and, still more, to find in other Christians something we need, something that we could receive like a gift from our brothers and our sisters. The group from Canada who prepared the texts for this Week of Prayer did not invite communities to think about what they could give to their neighbor Christians, but urged them to meet with one another in order to understand what they all can receive each from the others. This requires something more. It requires much prayer, it requires humility, it requires reflection and continual conversion. Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, that this scandal lessens and that it may cease among us.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 22, 2014

S2. There will always be disagreements. Other than the one the Pope suggests above, what are some other ways to handle disputes so that good or growth could come out of them?

Gospel

Matthew 4:12-23
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1.  As soon as Jesus heard that John was arrested he immediately moved into Herod’s territory and began an intense program teaching, healing and preaching repentance. What would cause him to make such a dangerous move? Are you able to stand up and get involved for what is right when you see that you will suffer pain or loss when you do? What do you think of Jesus when he acts like this?

G2. Do you think Jesus also needed friends? “At once they left their nets and followed him.” How long did it take Peter and Andrew to respond to his invitation to a personal encounter? What do you think was going on in their heads and hearts? Could they have been excited by the mission of communicating life to others?

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.