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 28, 2018 Sunday Mass
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Moses spoke to all the people, saying:
"A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen.
This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb
on the day of the assembly, when you said,
'Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,
nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.'
And the LORD said to me, 'This was well said.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,
and will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.
Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,
I myself will make him answer for it.
But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name
an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,
or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.'"

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Pope Francis said thus about prophets in an America Magazine interview led by Antonio Spadaro, SJ:

Being prophets may sometimes imply making waves. I do not know how to put it. ... Prophecy makes noise, uproar, some say ‘a mess.’ But in reality, the charism of religious people is like yeast: prophecy announces the spirit of the Gospel.

 “A Big Heart Open to God,” America, Sept. 30, 2013

Can you think of people who have caused an “uproar” or made “a mess” announcing the spirit of the Gospel in our time? Who are they?

F2. Does God raise ordinary people from our midst to become prophets? Is there a cause for which you might become a prophet?

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Brothers and sisters:
I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband. 
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Paul says, “Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties.” Who has anxieties of one kind or the other? Could everyone living today have them?

S2. What are the anxieties you most feel? Do you have a way to deal with them? What virtue do you think might help most in your attempts to control anxieties? St. Paul recommends “adherence to the Lord without distraction.”

Gospel

Mark 1:21-28
Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"
Jesus rebuked him and said,
"Quiet! Come out of him!"
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
"What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Jesus “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” Was there an incident that confirmed Jesus’ teaching and showed people its authenticity? If you can’t have absolute confirmation, as they did, what will work for you? Trust? Explain.

G2. “The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.” On Jan 6th, sixty-four African migrants died due to the shipwreck in the Mediterranean after a trafficker’s overcrowded rubber dinghy started taking on water. Would you call human trafficking one of today’s “unclean spirits” that needs to “come out,” as they did in this Gospel? What are some other ones?

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.