Accountability and Support

“So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
– James 4:7

Monthly Focus on Resisting Relationship with Christ

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

Discussion Questions for August 14, 2016 Sunday Mass
20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death;
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city,
and all the people, by speaking such things to them;
he is not interested in the welfare of our people,
but in their ruin.” 
King Zedekiah answered: “He is in your power”;
for the king could do nothing with them. 
And so they took Jeremiah
and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah,
which was in the quarters of the guard,
letting him down with ropes. 
There was no water in the cistern, only mud,
and Jeremiah sank into the mud.

Ebed-melech, a court official,
went there from the palace and said to him:
“My lord king,
these men have been at fault
in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah,
casting him into the cistern. 
He will die of famine on the spot,
for there is no more food in the city.” 
Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite
to take three men along with him,
and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before
he should die.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Are you certain enough of God’s covenant with us that you can carry out a “leap of faith”? What gave the Israelites the courage to begin their journey into the unknown? How do you yourself make smaller leaps, maybe hops, of faith in your everyday life?

F2. What is “the Passover”? Can you trace it to the Hebrew testament? Was it of  “divine institution”?

Second Reading

Hebrews 12:1-4
Brothers and sisters:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us
and persevere in running the race that lies before us
while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and perfecter of faith. 
For the sake of the joy that lay before him
he endured the cross, despising its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. 
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. What is the “cloud of witnesses” Paul refers to? What does everyone in the “cloud” have in common with the others? Do you have favorites in this cloud? Why? Do you think many of them were “thrown in the mud” or treated like Jeremiah? Did everyone in the “cloud” keep his/her eyes on Jesus?

S2. Pope Francis gave this “lesson” on contemplative prayer as he reflected on our Gospel Reading at Casa Santa Marta.

We should all carry out this contemplative prayer. ‘But I have so much to do!’ At home, [take] 15 minutes, pick up the Gospel, a small passage, imagine what happened and talk with Jesus about it. So your gaze will be fixed on Jesus and not so much on a TV soap opera, for example. Your ears will be focused on the words of Jesus and not so much on your neighborhood gossip.”

Pope Francis: A lesson in contemplative prayer, February 4, 2015

If your eyes are on Jesus, what are they not on? What is the outcome of developing a habit of contemplation?

Gospel

Luke 12:49-53
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing! 
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? 
No, I tell you, but rather division. 
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. According to this Gospel, what did Jesus come on earth to do? What does he wish? What is the “fire” he wants the earth consumed with? Does part of that fire consume you?

G2. God seems to have a radical, unconditional love for us. Could the resistance to it that some people have cause the divisions Jesus mentions in this Gospel?

**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.