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 February 4, 2018
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Job spoke, saying:
Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say, "When shall I arise?"
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  Sometimes, do you feel like Job in this reading? Why you think God allows suffering? Can you have faith in God, even if you don't understand why people suffer?

F2. Could God have redeemed the world by saying a word, or breathing on it, or sending his son merely to be with us? Why do you think God chose a suffering Messiah to redeem humankind?

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. What drove Paul to the point that he would do anything for the sake of the gospel? What drives you to do the things that you do?

S2. St. Paul said, “I have become all things to all, to save at least some.” Do you think he would agree with Pope Francis’ statement below? Why?

Humility, meekness, becoming all things to everyone and also—but this is not written in the Bible—all of us know that to do these things you have to swallow so many toads [of pride]. … But, we must do it because peace is made like this: with humility, humiliation, searching always to see in the other the image of God. … To humble ourselves, and make bridges, always. Always. And this is what it means to be Christian. … It is not easy. It is not easy, but Jesus did it: he humbled himself until the end, he has shown us the way.”

 Daily Homily, Jan 24th, 2014

Gospel

Mark 1:21-28
On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you."
He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come."
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Do you think this text was written to tell people about Jesus the miracle worker? Are miracles a confirmation of Jesus’ message of salvation? What did he say was the “purpose for which he came”?

G2. “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” How does this fit with his tireless effort to carry out God’s ministry? How close are you to Jesus in using all your energy for some purpose? What is that purpose?

 

**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.