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 18, 2016 Sunday Mass
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Amos 8:4-7
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy
and destroy the poor of the land!
“When will the new moon be over,” you ask,
“that we may sell our grain,
and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?
We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel,
and fix our scales for cheating!
We will buy the lowly for silver,
and the poor for a pair of sandals;
even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Never will I forget a thing they have done!

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Throughout Hebrew scriptures the orphans and widows were the responsibility of those in right relationship with God. What are some things people do when they feel responsible for people in need? What can you do to correct an unjust situation?

F2. Israel’s covenant mandated love of the neighbor Was it on a collision course with the people’s behavior in this reading? What drives people to be oppressive and exploitative? Compare and contrast greed with love of neighbor. Is money evil, or is it the love of money that is, to the exclusion of everything else, including love of neighbor? Give examples from today.

Second Reading

1 Timothy 2:1-8
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. 
This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time. 
For this I was appointed preacher and apostle
— I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —,
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Paul was appointed preacher and apostle to take the Good News to the Gentiles. How can you take Christ’s message beyond the sphere of the Church?

S2. Paul asks prayers for kings and authority. Do you think the Church today should address political, economic and social problems, or just stick to “religion”? Do you address these issues?


Luke 16:1-16
Jesus said to his disciples,
“A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property. 
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you? 
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? 
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one. 
To the first he said,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. 
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’
The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light. 
I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones. 
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth? 
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours? 
No servant can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. Was the unjust steward dishonest or just clever? How would the kingdom of God benefit if you were more resourceful about promoting it here on earth? Can you think of one way you can be more resourceful or even clever in your spiritual life? 

G2. Several years ago in his morning homily Pope Francis spoke of the crafty steward parable. For what would you use the grace of Christian cleverness if you received it? If you ask for it will you receive it?

However, the Holy Father said, there is another road. It is the path of “Christian cleverness.” This path, he said, “allows us to be cunning but not according to the spirit of the world. Jesus himself said it: be wise as serpents, innocent as doves.” Uniting these two realities is a grace and a gift of the Holy Spirit, the Pope said. “This Christian cleverness is a gift; it is a grace that the Lord gives to us. But we need to ask for it.”

Pope Francis, The Dirty Bread of Corruption,
November 8, 2013

**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.