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 June 4 2017
Pentecost Sunday

First Reading

Acts 2:1-11
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
"Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Every nation was confused and amazed, because everyone understood in his or her language what the apostles were saying. If you were completely open to the Holy Spirit, would you have a deeper understanding of all that you hear? Was the miracle in the speaking or the hearing? How does the Holy Spirit use the miracle of hearing with you?

F2. In his Pentecost homily Pope Francis reminded his listeners that God asked Noah, Abraham and Moses to do new things. The disciples were also doing something new when Galileans were speaking, but people from other countries were hearing in their native languages. Francis asks us the following questions:

Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

Pope Francis at Pentecost: Newness, Harmony and Mission (1) 
May 19, 2013, Vatican Radio

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13
Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1.  “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Were Vivaldi and Michelangelo given gifts solely for their own pleasure? For whose benefit were they given? What are your gifts and for what benefit were they given to you and those around you?

S2. Different gifts are displayed through different works. St. Alphonsus Rodriguez was a Jesuit Brother (1533-1617) whose job was to answer the door of the Jesuit College in Majorca. For forty years he encountered God in each person he welcomed at the door. Nobility, and crowds of poor and sick who knew about his holiness and his reputation for miracles attended his funeral. How would his spiritual gift of service compare to that of St. Francis Xavier, who converted whole countries?

Gospel

John 20:19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1.  Jesus “breathed” on them. How does this relate to Genesis 2:7, “God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life?” What is the significance for you? How important is the Holy Spirit to you?

G2.  “ … When the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, … ” How were the disciples different after the Spirit’s arrival? In your own life do you tend to see the Holy Spirit as dynamic and constant or only occasional? Rate your belief in the Holy Spirit as your constant companion, on a scale of 1 to 10. Are you different when you are confident that the Spirit is with you? Explain.

 

**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.