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 June 24, 2018
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

First Reading 

Isaiah 49:1-6
Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  This reading is about the servant Israel who was chosen to be a beacon for all nations, and to see and be drawn back to God. Explain why it was chosen for today’s celebration of the nativity of John the Baptist.

F2. “For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb.” God called the servant in this reading before he was born. Do you think God knew you before you were born? Do you think God will be with you as you make all your life choices? How might you be part of the plan to help salvation reach the ends of the earth?

Second Reading 

Acts 13:22-26
In those days, Paul said:
"God raised up David as king; 
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'

"My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent."

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1.  Repentance draws people back into right relationship with God. How is John’s baptism of repentance different from baptism in which Jesus sent the Holy Spirit?

S2. What in this reading tells you John was a humble man? Did John direct people’s attention to himself or to Jesus? What was John’s whole life and ministry about? What is your ministry about?

Gospel

Luke 1:57-66, 80
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?"
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit, 
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1. Was John chosen before he was born, as was the servant in the first reading? Zechariah doubted Gabriel’s words that Elizabeth would bear a son. St. John of the Cross tells us to trust our insights. Are your insights from the Holy Spirit? Do you trust them? Do you act on them or dismiss them?

G2. We can learn three things from John the Baptist: How to prepare, how to discern, and how to decrease in order to let the Lord increase. When Jesus began to preach did John’s following begin to decline? Why does Pope Francis say we need to diminish? According to him, is everything in our ministry up to us, or can we be assured that God will do God’s part?

And a Christian should be a man (or a woman) who can step aside because the Lord will grow in the heart and soul of others.

Pope Francis, June 24, 2014
Feast of Nativity of John the Baptist

 

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.