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 November 11, 2018 Sunday Mass

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

1 Kings 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
"Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink." 
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
"Please bring along a bit of bread." 
She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug. 
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die." 
Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid. 
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. 
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. 
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
'The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" 
She left and did as Elijah had said. 
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
the jar of flour did not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

First Discussion Questions
F1. The widow is asked to give away the last bits of flour reserved for her final meal. As a result, she receives a jar of flour that doesn’t ever go empty. Was it a a leap of faith for her? Can you relate to her situation?

F2. Did God reward the widow in this reading? Are there usually rewards for helping others? How does one develop a habit of giving—baby steps or all at once? On a scale of one to ten, rate your ability to give.

Second Reading

Hebrews 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf. 
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world. 
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice. 
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Compare Christ’s sacrifice with those of the two widows, the one in the First Reading and the other in the Gospel.

S2. What did God the Father give away?

Gospel Reading

Mark 12:38-44 or 12:41-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, 
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers. 
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

OR

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums. 
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

Gospel Reading Discussion Questions
G1. In the Gospel Jesus says about the scribes “They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.” If there is a split between what you do in your heart and what you say with your lips, is hypocrisy present?

G2. In discussing a crisis of values Pope Francis repeats his call for Catholics to seek out people on the fringes of society, like the widow in the story, who need help the most. Are you called to action when you hear about starving people needing food, or homeless people needing shelter? What can you do?

If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty … today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food—that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way. … We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. … We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those (who need help most).

Pope Francis Insists Church Must Help Poor,
Not 'Speak Of Theology' 05/18/2013

**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.