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 July 22, 2018
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Woe to the shepherds
who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply.
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble;
and none shall be missing, says the LORD.
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."
First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. In this reading the Lord speaks to the bad shepherds, i.e., the leaders of his people. What must be the priorities or values of a shepherd whose sheep tremble and fear? What are the priorities and values of “The Lord of Justice”?
F2. Imagine being a caretaker of people in the way that a shepherd is for sheep. What can you do about the fear people experience all over the world due to injustice? Can you do anything to remedy any of the injustice? Is there anything you can do about unfair situations in your own living area?
Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, he who made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Paul, a Jew preaching to Gentiles, became a Christian preaching to Jews. There was a barrier or “dividing wall,” according to Paul. Discuss dividing walls present today among peoples of different beliefs, races or cultures.
S2. Are there dividing walls today that seem impenetrable to you? Using the present reading from Ephesians as a guide, how might people resolve their differences, or in other words break down walls that divide them? Can the families of victims forgive a killer? Does this action break down a dividing wall?
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. What does Jesus do in this Gospel story that is an example of good shepherding? Discuss compassion versus power as attributes of good leadership.
G2. Pope Francis addressed the priests of Rome on the topic of mercy. He called to mind the scene in which Jesus is moved with pity for the vast crowd—who were tired and worn out “like sheep without a shepherd.” How does his statement below illustrate the line from the Gospel?
[Drawing attention to the many who] are wounded by material problems, by scandals, even in the Church and by the illusions of the world, the pontiff explained that We priests must be there, close to these people. Mercy means, above all, taking care of wounds. When a person is injured, this is the immediate help they need, not analysis; the special care can follow, but first we need to tend to the open wounds.
Pastoral suffering (is) suffering with the people, like a father and a mother suffer for their children, and I would say also with anxiety.
Pope Francis to Roman priests: Cry for Your People
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.