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 April 2, 2017 Sunday Mass
Fifth Sunday of Lent

First Reading

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Thus says the Lord GOD: 
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them, 
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD, 
when I open your graves and have you rise from them, 
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live, 
and I will settle you upon your land; 
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. God said to the Israelites, “I will bring you up from your graves. … I will put my spirit within you and you shall live.” On a scale of one to ten how would you compare these two gifts God promised? Are these promises made to you also?

F2. Would your actions change if you really believed you had access to the Holy Spirit at all times? How?

Second Reading

Romans 8:8-11
Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; 
on the contrary, you are in the spirit, 
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, 
although the body is dead because of sin, 
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, 
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also, 
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Hans Urs von Balthazar said that if you are guided by the Spirit rather than by the flesh, “the germ of divine, eternal life already lives in you with this Spirit and you hold a ‘down-payment,’ as it were, a ticket to God’s life.” Discuss.

S2. St. Paul said, “Those of you who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Do you think he meant, “Those of you who are led by the temptations of the flesh cannot please God?” Is there a difference?  

Gospel

John 11:1-45
Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, 
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair; 
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying, 
"Master, the one you love is ill."
hen Jesus heard this he said,
"This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
"Let us go back to Judea."
The disciples said to him, 
"Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, 
and you want to go back there?"
Jesus answered,
"Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, 
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles, 
because the light is not in him." 
He said this, and then told them,
"Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him."
So the disciples said to him,
"Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved."
But Jesus was talking about his death, 
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. 
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
"Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe. 
Let us go to him."
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, 
"Let us also go to die with him."

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him,
"I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world."

When she had said this, 
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, 
"The teacher is here and is asking for you."
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village, 
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her, 
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, 
she fell at his feet and said to him, 
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, 
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
"Where have you laid him?"
They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."
But some of them said, 
"Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?"

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."
Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, 
"Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days."
Jesus said to her,
"Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
"Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me."
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
"Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
"Untie him and let him go."

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1.  How do all the elements in the story of the raising of Lazarus point to Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live”? Compare Jesus’ statement, “Untie him and let him go,” with Moses’ statement to the Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”

G2.  How does Pope Francis describe the beginning of our resurrection in this Angeles talk about the raising of Lazarus?

Jesus calls to us as he called to Lazarus in his tomb: “Come forth!” This call is addressed to every human person because we are all marked by death. Christ is not resigned to the sepulchers that we have constructed with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, our sins. [Jesus] invites us, almost orders us, to come out of the tombs into which our sins have plunged us. This is where our resurrection begins: when we decide to obey the command of Jesus to come into the light, to life; when the masks fall from our faces, … and we rediscover the courage of our original faces, created in the image and likeness of God.

( … The raising of Lazarus shows us that) there is no limit to the divine mercy, which is offered to everyone. … The Lord is always ready to roll away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from him, the light of the living.

Pope Francis: There is no limit to the divine mercy
June 4, 2014 

**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.