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 December 02, 2018
First Sunday of Advent

First Reading

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD, 
when I will fulfill the promise 
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time, 
I will raise up for David a just shoot ; 
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe 
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; 
this is what they shall call her: 
“The LORD our justice.”

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. “The days are coming, says the Lord.” We welcome a new year of grace. What do the coming days of Advent awaken in you? How will you prepare?

F2. In this reading Jeremiah reminds the people of the Lord’s promise to them. How does that promise relate to hope? Why is Advent called the season of hope? Is hope a risky virtue? Is it ardent expectation? What would your life be like without hope? What can you do to bring hope to people you know?

Second Reading

1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you, 
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father 
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, 
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us 
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1.  Pope Francis says that St. Paul’s prayer, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” presents the Christian life as a journey of growth in love. Why is this reading used in Advent? Will your journey this Advent be a growth in love?

It would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12)

Evangelii Gaudium, 161 ff

S2. St. Paul said he “abounded in love” for the Thessalonians to strengthen their hearts. Discuss “abounding in love” as an effective method of strengthening hearts or eliciting change of any kind. Do you think great change or growth ever happens without love, in fact, immense love?

Gospel

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, 
and on earth nations will be in dismay, 
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright 
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, 
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man 
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen, 
stand erect and raise your heads 
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy 
from carousing and drunkenness 
and the anxieties of daily life, 
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times 
and pray that you have the strength 
to escape the tribulations that are imminent 
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Could much of this gospel have been written today? (roaring sea, drowsy hearts, dying of fright, anxieties, carousing, tribulations) Jesus tells us to pray for strength. Do you believe that if you pray for strength you will receive it? Could God send it through other people? Could you be a source of strength for others?
 

G2. Jesus is God’s last Word to us (Christ’s Incarnation). Discuss this idea.

 

**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.