Accountability and Support

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”
–James 5:16

Monthly Focus on Resisting Relationship with Christ

When was I most aware of my resistance to Christ’s presence in my life during the past 30 days? Why?

Discussion Questions for October 29, 2017 Sunday Mass
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Exodus 22:20-26
Thus says the LORD:
"You shall not molest or oppress an alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. 
You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. 
If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
I will surely hear their cry. 
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword;
then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.

"If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people,
you shall not act like an extortioner toward him
by demanding interest from him. 
If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge,
you shall return it to him before sunset;
for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. 
What else has he to sleep in?
If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate."

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. God’s love brought the Israelites out of Egypt where they had been aliens. According to this reading, how were they to repay God’s love? How do you repay God’s love for you? How does this First Reading relate to the Gospel reading?

F2. Widows, the oppressed, the poor, the orphans and the immigrants are precious to God. Is there anything you could do to make the life of one person in one of these groups better? Discuss.

Second Reading

1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Brothers and sisters:
You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. 
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,
receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit,
so that you became a model for all the believers
in Macedonia and in Achaia.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth
not only in Macedonia and in Achaia,
but in every place your faith in God has gone forth,
so that we have no need to say anything. 
For they themselves openly declare about us
what sort of reception we had among you,
and how you turned to God from idols
to serve the living and true God
and to await his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead,
Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. “And you … receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit … ” Is the Holy Spirit the great forgotten one for you, or do you guard or even cherish the gift that gives you peace, teaches you to love and fills you with joy?

S2. Every place the Thessalonians went, the “word of the Lord sounded forth.” How can you yourself  “sound forth” (without preaching)? Do you know anyone in the world who does that today? in your parish? in your workplace? Can you “sound forth” with actions instead of words?

Gospel

Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. You were made in God’s image and likeness, and every good thing you have comes from God. What does God ask in return? Whatever your answer, is it always easy? Discuss whether “love your neighbor” includes your arrogant neighbor or just your kind neighbor.

G2. Pope Francis made remarks about love and one of the first steps toward that love. In overcoming anger or rivalry, etc. he suggests praying for the other person. Would that help you accept the other as brother or sister?

What is the law of the People of God? It is the law of love, love for God and love for neighbor according to the new commandment that the Lord left to us (cf. Jn 13:34). It is a love, however, that is not sterile sentimentality or something vague, but the acknowledgment of God as the one Lord of life and, at the same time, the acceptance of the other as my true brother, overcoming division, rivalry, misunderstanding, selfishness; these two things go together. … We must ask the Lord to make us correctly understand this law of love. How beautiful it is to love one another as true brothers and sisters. How beautiful!

Pope Francis General Audience
St. Peter’s Square
June 12, 2013

Anne Osdieck

**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.