Accountability and Support

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”
–James 5:16

Monthly Focus on Resisting Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of my resistance to Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for January 29, 2017 Sunday Mass
4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth,
who have observed his law;
seek justice, seek humility;

perhaps you may be sheltered
on the day of the LORD's anger.

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
they shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Was the faithful “remnant” in this reading practicing the Beatitudes from today’s Gospel (“Seek justice, seek humility”)? These are not easy to acquire, but could there be something innate to human nature that allows us to receive such qualities from God?

F2. God promises to leave a humble “remnant” in the people’s midst. One of their rewards was “ ... they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.” Is there always a certain happiness found in the love of God?

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
"Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord."

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. This reading begins with “Consider your calling. … ” How is a “calling” different from a commandment? Are such qualities as “foolish, weak, lowly” commandments or gifts for the heart to be sought and prayed for?

S2. How can the “weak of the world shame the strong”? What does this mean to you? Is weakness a top priority for the United States today, or is it strength? Is non-violence a weakness or is it strength?

Gospel

Matthew 5:1-12a
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 
He began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Can the Beatitudes become a way of life for you? If one of them becomes important to you, might the others follow?

G2. Pope Francis offered us six new Beatitudes. How do these “confront the troubles and anxieties of our own time with the spirit and love of Jesus”?

• Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart.
• Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness. 
• Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him. 
• Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. 
• Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
• Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness, and surely they will receive from him their merited reward.

Holy Mass in Swedbank Stadion, Malmo Switzerland
Nov. 1, 2016

**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.