Accountability and Support

“Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.”
– Proverbs 27:17

Monthly Focus on Study

What have I studied during the past 30 days to help me better understand the gifts of God?
M1.   Bible Reading
M2.  Books of Formation
M3.  Periodicals
M4.  Other

Discussion Questions for September 16, 2018
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Isaiah 50:5-9a

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?


First Reading Discussion Questions

F1. Isaiah says, “The Lord God opens my ear that I may hear … ” What kinds of things do you think God would like us to hear? That “a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day” from the Second Reading? Then what? Do we act on what we hear?

F2. “The Lord God is my help … ” These words are found twice in the present reading. How do they relate to Jesus’ utterance in the Gospel, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself.” Will God be with us every minute, no matter what?

Second Reading

James 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works? 
Can that faith save him? 
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, "
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it? 
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
"You have faith and I have works." 
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.


Second Reading Discussion Questions

S1. How important is it to express your faith in works? The letter of James tells us to serve our neighbor. Do you ever respond to such a call? If so, how? With a few words? In some of your actions? With your entire life? 

S2. Why does Pope Francis say we must have a faith that “engages us”?

The Gospels also contain stories of “people who don’t know doctrine but have a lot of faith,” such as the Samaritan woman at the well, who opened her heart to the Lord because she “met not abstract truth,” but the person of Jesus Christ.

This encounter in faith always leads a Christian to move outward toward others. Faith always leads to witness. Faith is a meeting with Jesus Christ, with God, and it is born from that and leads you to witness.

Without such fruit, faith is lifeless. A faith without works, a faith that doesn’t engage you, that doesn’t lead you to witness, isn’t faith. It is words, and nothing more than words.
 

Pope Francis, Mass on February 21, 2014

 

Gospel

Mark 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. 
Along the way he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that I am?" 
They said in reply,
"John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets." 
And he asked them,
"But who do you say that I am?" 
Peter said to him in reply,
"You are the Christ." 
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days. 
He spoke this openly. 
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. 
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me. 
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it."


Gospel Discussion Questions

G1.  Do you want people you love to know you well? Do you think Christ wants you to know him well? He asks the apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” What if he asked you that question? Do you answer it differently at different times in your life?

G2. “The Son of Man must suffer greatly … ” In these words Jesus is telling the apostles what discipleship is all about. How does Peter handle this new message? How do you? Can “losing your life” be a means to gaining life? Can you desire to follow him in such a way?


 

**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.