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 May 7, 2017 Sunday Mass
Fourth Sunday of Easter

First Reading

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
"Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified."

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
"What are we to do, my brothers?"
Peter said to them,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call."
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
"Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. The people listening to Peter’s sermon were “cut to the heart” with remorse. Does anything cut you to the heart? “Brothers, what should we do?” is what they asked. What action did they take? How do you think you would have responded to Peter’s sermon?

F2. What does the word conversion mean? Is conversion a once-in-a-lifetime experience or is it ongoing? Explain. Who needs conversion? Name the things that conversion involves besides a change of behavior.

Second Reading

1 Peter 2:20b-45
Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Christ’s innocence and lack of vengeance show us what God’s love is like. Where do you find strength to endure your suffering? Can suffering be an occasion of grace?

S2. Peter says about Jesus, “When he was insulted, he returned no insult.” Is Peter referring to a kind of suffering that is inflicted on a person for doing something good? Give examples in which this has been the case. Have you had this experience? Where do you think Gandhi and Martin Luther King got their ideas of nonviolence?

Gospel

John 10:1-10
Jesus said:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1.  When flocks were mingled together, each flock would recognize the sound of their own shepherd’s voice and come to him, ignoring other shepherds. Can you discern in your life, which “voice” belongs to the Good Shepherd? Which of the following is your favorite comparison of Christ to the Good Shepherd: Explain.

• calling by name, 
• recognition of voice, 
• following the shepherd, 
• not following strangers, 
• shepherd as gate.

G2.  According to Pope Francis in the following, why would a good shepherd take risks today?

In seeking, he finds, and he finds because he takes risks. He does not stop when disappointed and he does not yield to weariness. Indeed, he is stubborn in doing good, anointed with the divine obstinacy that loses sight of no one. Not only does he keep his doors open, but he also goes to seek out those who no longer wish to enter them.

In the heart of the Good Shepherd, the Father’s love shines forth. There I know I am welcomed and understood as I am; there, with all my sins and limitations, I know the certainty that I am chosen and loved.

 The heart of the Good Shepherd tells us that his love is limitless. It is never exhausted and it never gives up. There we see his infinite and boundless self-giving. There we find the source of that faithful and meek love which sets free and makes others free.

How to be a good shepherd—Pope Francis' guide for priests, 
June 3, 2016

 

**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.