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 September 7, 2018
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 2: 18-24
The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him."
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
"This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called 'woman, '
for out of 'her man' this one has been taken."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.
First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. In The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupèry has the fox say that “… you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” God allowed Adam, one of us, to give each creature its name. This is, in a way, a taming process. Do we feel responsible for the planet and all the life on it? Do you see any areas in our environment where we are not acting responsibly? Discuss what can do in your home or place of work to make changes for the better.
F2. Do you think the culture from which this story comes values women the same as men? Why or why not? What would you say to a person who thinks the superiority of men over women is divinely revealed in this text? What would you do if the women and men in your work place were not treated as equals?
Brothers and sisters:
He "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels, "
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”
Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. What ideas do you get when you tie the first line of the First Reading, “The Lord God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’ “ with the first line from the second reading, “He ‘for a little while’ was made ‘lower than the angels.’ ” (For the little while he was with us.)
S2. Jesus consecrated himself to his Father and us along with him. He called us sisters and brothers. How does this create reverence toward our brothers and sisters? Do you treat the bag lady with the same respect that you treat the CEO?
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. All deep bonds with others have a profound effect on our lives. What kinds of things bring people together in the first place? What can you do you to hold those bonds intact? On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank communication as a help to hold the bonds intact?
G2. In Mark’s Gospel the Pharisees and the disciples ask Jesus about divorce. In the light of family problems that still exist, Pope Francis called a Synod on the Family. Below is a section of Francis’ address at the conclusion of the Synod. What are the challenges in today’s world to which we should respond with boldness and mercy? Name a challenge that needs mercy.
And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.
This is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei.
Pope Francis, Synod of Bishops, 18 October 2014
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.