Accountability and Support

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monthly Focus on Nurturing Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for March 11, 2018 Sunday Mass

Fourth Sunday of Lent 

First Reading

2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people
added infidelity to infidelity, 
practicing all the abominations of the nations
and polluting the LORD’s temple
which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, 
send his messengers to them, 
for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.
But they mocked the messengers of God, 
despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets, 
until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed
that there was no remedy.
Their enemies burnt the house of God,
tore down the walls of Jerusalem, 
set all its palaces afire, 
and destroyed all its precious objects.
Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon, 
where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons
until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.
All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah: 
“Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths, 
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
while seventy years are fulfilled.”

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, 
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, 
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, 
both by word of mouth and in writing: 
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: 
All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, 
and he has also charged me to build him a house
in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, 
let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

First Discussion Questions
F1. “The God of their fathers[sent]his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people.”Does God send messengers now? What about to you personally? Does God send messengers “early and often”? Can you give an example? What can you do to “open your door wider” so that all the messengers can get in?

F2. “But they mocked the messengers of God” Can you name some people who have been rejected because of the messages they delivered?

 

Second Reading

Ephesians 2:4-10
Brothers and sisters:
God, who is rich in mercy, 
because of the great love he had for us, 
even when we were dead in our transgressions, 
brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved —, 
raised us up with him, 
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 
that in the ages to come
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, 
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1.  In Diary of a Country Priest, author George Bernanos makes this statement: “Grace is everywhere.” Can this be true? Discuss.

S2. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.” Would you define grace as God’s own life? Describe three places where “the immeasurable riches of his grace” are at work in the world or in your life today.

Gospel Reading

John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, 
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, 
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, 
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, 
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, 
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world, 
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light, 
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, 
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1.   “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son … ” So what is your job? Are you one who will tell the world about this love? Name some ways (other than preaching) that you can do this. Might you run into difficulties at times? Is it true that you are not alone and that you will always receive the grace you need?

G2. Nicodemus had been searching quietly for God in his life. Jesus said to him, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” According to Pope Francis, Jesus told Nicodemus that God was seeking Nicodemus first, loving him first and waiting for him to return love? Does that hold true for us too?

Today’s Gospel “sets the stage” for Nicodemus, who, while playing an important role in the religious and civil community of the time, has not ceased seeking God. He did not think: “I have arrived”; he did not cease seeking God ... In the nighttime dialogue with the Nazarene, Nicodemus finally understood that he had already been sought and awaited by God, that he was personally loved by Him. God always seeks us first, awaits us first, loves us first. … In fact Jesus speaks to him in this way: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

Angelus, Saint Peter's Square
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Sunday 11 June 2017

**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.