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 November 5, 2017
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Malachi 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10
A great King am I, says the LORD of hosts,
and my name will be feared among the nations.
And now, O priests, this commandment is for you:
If you do not listen,
if you do not lay it to heart,
to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts,
I will send a curse upon you
and of your blessing I will make a curse.
You have turned aside from the way,
and have caused many to falter by your instruction;
you have made void the covenant of Levi,
says the LORD of hosts.
I, therefore, have made you contemptible
and base before all the people,
since you do not keep my ways,
but show partiality in your decisions.
Have we not all the one father?
Has not the one God created us?
Why then do we break faith with one another,
violating the covenant of our fathers?

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1.  The priests in this reading neglected their duty and are responsible for the erosion of faith among the people. In general what do you think are some contemporary issues that erode people’s faith? In particular what erodes your faith? What increases your faith?  

F2. Malachi points out in this reading that the priests were showing partiality and not preaching the Torah with fidelity and good example. What serious responsibilities do privileged positions within a community bring with them?

Second Reading

2 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13
Brothers and sisters:
We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. 
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us. 
You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. 
Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly,
that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us,
you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God,
which is now at work in you who believe.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. According to this reading explain what makes Paul such an effective minister. In whose message are you going to be more interested, the message given by someone who cares about you, or the message given by someone who doesn’t know your name?

S2. Think of people about whom you can say, “I see God at work in that person.” What is it that you “see” in them? How is the word of God at work in you?

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. 
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example. 
For they preach but they do not practice. 
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders, 
but they will not lift a finger to move them. 
All their works are performed to be seen. 
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. 
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ. 
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. As in Luke 22:26-27, Jesus says, “But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves.” Jesus instituted an office of service. “Wide belts,” places of honor and titles helped the scribes and Pharisees increase their social status but did those things help them serve others better? What does help you serve?

G2. At an Episcopal ordination, Pope Francis reminds the new bishop of Jesus’ words about being a servant. What does he ask the new bishop to teach in words and attitude? What does he ask him to be? Is this message for religious leaders relevant for all times? Is it relevant for you?

Indeed, episcopacy is the name of a service, not of an honor, since the bishop must strive to serve rather than to rule, according to the Master’s commandment: “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” 

… As the start of the Year of Mercy draws near, I ask you as a brother to be merciful. The Church and the world need so much mercy. Teach the presbyters and seminarians the way of mercy. With words, yes, but above all with your attitude. The mercy of the Father always receives, there is always room in his heart, no one is ever pushed away. Wait, wait. ... I wish you this: so much mercy.

Holy Mass and Episcopal Ordination
9 November 2015

 

**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.