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 3, 2017
First Sunday of Advent
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named forever.
Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!
Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.
First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. We are the clay and you the potter.
Who made the beautiful “clay pot” to which this Reading and Pope Francis are referring?
Without the Church—believe me—I would not have been able to encounter Jesus, even with the awareness that the immense gift of faith is kept in the fragile clay pots of our humanity.
Pope Francis responds to a Non Believer
F2. “ … that we were mindful of you in our ways!”
Is there a veil that keeps you from seeing God’s presence at work in your life and in your world? How can you use Advent to lift that veil, to get more in touch with God in and around you?
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. St. Paul’s concern here is to make sure you are ready for life with God after death. Is there life with God before your death? Explain. If you feel sometimes that, indeed, “you are … lacking in … spiritual gifts,” what could you do during Advent to restart, to recover the goals of your existence?
S2. St. Paul also says “that in him you were enriched in every way.” In what ways has God enriched you personally? To say Paul’s words in another way, his gift to us is the blessing of everything in him. What richness in Christ is he passing on to you?
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. As vigilant gatekeepers watching for the Lord of the house, what signs do you observe that tell you God is present in the world and in your life?
G2. As gatekeepers we are responsible for the preservation of God’s gift of the earth. What is the Church’s responsibility in the maintenance of the earth’s life? The Iowa Catholic Conference is sponsoring a plan for clean water: what is your responsibility in such plans?
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.