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 August 5, 2018
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 
The Israelites said to them,
"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! 
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!"

Then the LORD said to Moses,
"I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. 
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

"I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. 
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God."

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. 
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. 
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, "What is this?"
for they did not know what it was. 
But Moses told them,
"This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. The Israelites grumbled about the lack of food in the desert. They remembered their abundant pots of animal flesh in Egypt when they were captives. How is your trust in God when God calls you to new journeys in your spiritual life or ministry? 

F2. “Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion” What do you think our directive for natural resources would be? Take only what we need? Share it? Develop new sources of sustainable energy (renewable, as in wind, solar, etc.)?

Second Reading

Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. One translation has Paul calling the Ephesians to a spiritual revolution (a drastic change). If you personally were to have such a revolution, what would go and what would stay in your life? Would you add anything new?

S2. Paul urges them to “ … put on the new self.” Do you think God is ever finished creating you? Is it something you do (or God does) just once, or do you (or does God) do it continually?

Gospel

John 6:24-35
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?" 
Jesus answered them and said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. 
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." 
So they said to him,
"What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" 
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." 
So they said to him,
"What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? 
What can you do? 
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
So Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world."

So they said to him,
"Sir, give us this bread always." 
Jesus said to them,
"I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Why does Pope Francis say (below) that celebrating the Eucharist is an entirely different way of praying?

We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this “sense of the sacred”— this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible—[but] the Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only he is the unique one—the glory, the power—he is everything.
                   
Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.

Pope Francis on the Eucharist
Toward the end
February 10, 2014

If we were able to “enter into the mystery of God,” would we find God in all things?
 

G2.  “Our ancestors ate manna in the desert.” What is the food that you need for your life’s journey? Why do you think Jesus comes to us as bread or even as food? Would you have found that idea “hard to endure” if you were one of his disciples?

 

**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.