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 30, 2017 Sunday Mass
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. 
God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you." 
Solomon answered:
"O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king
to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. 
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. 
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. 
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?"

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. 
So God said to him:
"Because you have asked for this—
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, 
nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right—
I do as you requested. 
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now, 
and after you there will come no one to equal you."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. “Understanding” or “shōmē’a” in Hebrew means listening or obedient. How would the world be different if those in leadership positions (parent, teacher, boss, political leaders, religious leaders) earnestly prayed Solomon’s prayer: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart”? What impact might “listening” have on good leadership?

F2. Would anyone’s life change for the better if you had more of an understanding heart? How do you think you might improve your skills in this area?

Second Reading

Romans 8:28-30
Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose. 
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. The New American Bible translation is “All things work together for those who love God.” Suffering is inevitable in human life. Even so, can all things work together for those who love God?

S2. How about the man who sells everything to buy the field where he found the buried treasure? Is this an example of all things working for the good? Explain.

Gospel

Matthew 13:44-52 or 44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls. 
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind. 
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets. 
What is bad they throw away. 
Thus it will be at the end of the age. 
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

"Do you understand all these things?" 
They answered, "Yes." 
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old." 

or

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls. 
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1. Did the pearlfinder and the merchant have to be shrewd about obtaining their treasures? What about you? Are you shrewd about recognizing the “treasure” or the kingdom of God in your life? Do you find God, or at least look for God, in all things in your life? Do you notice when God is “whispering,” or just when God is “shouting” in your life?

G2. What does Pope Francis say is the “Pearl of great price? How would you rank as treasures the graces that come from this “pearl:” truth, mercy and joy?

The good news is the precious pearl of which we read in the gospel. It is not a thing but a mission. This is evident to anyone who has experienced the “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing” (Evangelii Gaudium, 10). …

Good news. A single word—gospel—that, even as it is spoken, becomes truth, brimming with joy and mercy. We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone. Truth, mercy and joy: these three go together.

  “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (ibid., 1)

Holy Chrism Mass Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
April 13, 2017

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.