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 July 29, 2018
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

2 Kings 4:42-44
A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear. 
Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat." 
But his servant objected,
"How can I set this before a hundred people?" 
Elisha insisted, "Give it to the people to eat." 
"For thus says the LORD,
'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'" 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  Elisha knows that twenty loaves won’t be enough to feed the crowd. He has to trust God over his own logic. Is this leap-of-faith kind of trust ever required in your life? Does such trust become easier with practice? Discuss.

F2. Both Elisha and the man from Baal-shalishah had to have faith that a miracle would happen. Do you consider miracles only “something that breaks the laws of nature”? Wouldn't you like to think again? What are some everyday miracles in your life?

Second Reading

Ephesians 4:1-6
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Paul reminds the brothers and sisters to “preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit.” What do you do to preserve unity when it seems like unity is going on the rocks? What else could you do?

S2. Which would be better, to preserve the peace by not talking to anyone with whom we disagree, or preserve the unity by staying at the table and talking it out?

Gospel

John 6:1-15
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. 
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
"Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" 
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little." 
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?" 
Jesus said, "Have the people recline." 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
"Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted." 
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat. 
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
"This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world." 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Pope Francis says that the “food was shared fairly … no one was deprived.” What are the implications for us regarding the inequality of resources and starvation all over the world?

Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish. And the end of this passage is important: “and all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces (Lk 9:17) and (Jn 6:12). Jesus asked the disciples to ensure that nothing was wasted: nothing thrown out! And there is this fact of 12 baskets: why 12? What does it mean? Twelve is the number of the tribes of Israel, it represents symbolically the whole people. And this tells us that when the food was shared fairly, with solidarity, no one was deprived of what he needed, every community could meet the needs of its poorest members. Human and environmental ecology go hand in hand.

Pope Francis, General Audience
Saint Peter's Square, 
Wednesday, 5 June 2013

G2. What do you think God is more likely to do, miraculously drop food where there is starvation, or inspire people to help their neighbors solve their problems? If the latter, how can you help (through the Holy Spirit) in third world countries, your city, diocese, parish, office, or neighborhood?

 

**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.