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 30, 2016 Sunday Mass
31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Wisdom 11:22-12:2
Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people's sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made.” What things do we think of when we hear this? If God’s attitude toward every created thing is love, what is your attitude? Do you show reverence for creation? For your neighbor?

F2. This reading is about God’s transcendence (God as beyond our limits or so far above us). At the same time it is about God’s immanence (his Spirit in all things, he pitched his tent among us, God with us, at home with us). How do you feel about God when you think of these attributes?

Second Reading

2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed
either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. When you are “shaken out of your mind suddenly” on your spiritual journey, do you think God can use your fellow believers or even non-believers to help you out? Give some examples of how this might work.

S2. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to know that he was constantly praying for them. Does it help you to know people are praying for you? Explain. Does it help you to pray for other people? How?

Gospel

Luke 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. 
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature. 
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.” 
And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. A man climbs a tree in order to see. A holy man goes to a “sinner’s” house for dinner. A repenting person gives half of all his possessions to the poor. How do you explain these events? Does knowing Jesus Christ elicit extraordinary behavior from you? What?

G2. How does Pope Francis use the story of Zacchaeus to help the UN develop goals that impact the “structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure destructuralized and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family”?

It is the encounter between Jesus Christ and the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, as a result of which Zacchaeus made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus. This same spirit should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity. The gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions with immediate results, like the decision of Zacchaeus. Does this spirit of solidarity and sharing guide all our thoughts and actions?


Pope to UN: Resist the Economy of Exclusion, September 5, 2014

**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.