Accountability and Support

“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.”
– Proverbs 27:17

Monthly Focus on Study

What have I studied during the past 30 days to help me better understand the gifts of God?
M1.   Bible Reading
M2.  Books of Formation
M3.  Periodicals
M4.  Other

Discussion Questions for July 15, 2018
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Amos 7:12-15

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! 
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” 
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. 
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. How do you feel about rejection? Can you think of any prophet who didn’t experience rejection? They chased Amos out of Bethel. When you think something needs to be done that makes everyone uncomfortable? What are some situations today that need prophets? What do you do? Are you willing to take on the job?

F2. Amos points out that he had been a shepherd and it wasn’t his idea to be a prophet anyway. Are education, occupation, eloquence, talent or intelligence prerequisites for a prophet? Then what is necessary? If you were called to be a prophet, would you be as reluctant as Amos was? Would you be willing to leave your comfort zone?

Second Reading

Ephesians 1:3-14 or 1:3-10

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him. 
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. 
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ. 
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

or

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him. 
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of God’s grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. 
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Can you accept St. Paul’s statement that we have been in the mind of God from all eternity, before the creation of the world? What is your response?

S2. "In him we also … were sealed with the promised holy Spirit.” Has the Holy Spirit been active in your life: guiding, fixing, enlightening, giving courage, helping you trust? Has God lavished his grace on you through the Holy Spirit this year; this week; today?

 

Gospel

Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits. 
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts. 
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic. 
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave. 
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.” 
So they went off and preached repentance. 
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1.  “Evangelizing” means to bring the Good News to all humanity, and through its influence to make humanity new, transform it from within. Can you yourself transform humanity around you in your daily life?

G2. Pope Francis says that the gospel “must be proclaimed in poverty.” Jesus wanted the disciples to have a “no frills attached” attitude—“no food, no sack, no money in their belts.” How does this kind of detachment and trust in God help disciples heal the “wounded and oppressed” that the Pope mentions?

This is the mission of the Church: the Church that heals, that cares [for people]. I sometimes describe the Church as a field hospital. True, there are many wounded, how many wounded! How many people who need their wounds to be healed! This is the mission of the Church: to heal the wounded hearts, to open doors, to free [people], to say that God is good, God forgives all, that God is our Father, God is tender, that God is always waiting for us. ...

Pope Francis, Mass at Casa Santa Marta,
February 2, 2015

 

**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.