Accountability and Support

“Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monthly Focus on Action

“I will make you fishers of men.”
M1.   What apostolic success did the Lord accomplish through me during the past 30 days to extend the kingdom? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M2.  With what apostolic failure did the Lord wish to test me during the past 30 days? In my family? In my work? In my environment?
M3.  How did I fulfill last month’s plan?
M4.  What do I need to work on?

Discussion Questions for September 25, 2016 Sunday Mass
26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Amos 6: 1a,4-7
Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
and anoint themselves with the best oils;
yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Do wealth and self-indulgence always go together? How are they related to your ability to respond to the needs of others?

F2. The people in this reading are complacent and comfortable. Would you choose them to be your best friends? Why? What is the missing thing in a person’s life, if all possible time and effort is consumed with caring for his or her own needs and desires? With such people at one end of the spectrum and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta at the other, where do you fall?

Second Reading

1 Timothy 6: 11-16
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 
Compete well for the faith. 
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see. 
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

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?

Gospel

Luke 16: 19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. 
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. 
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, 
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Gospel Discussion Questions

G1. Where would you find Lazarus today? What would s/he look like? Do you recognize and care for him/her as God’s beloved child, or do you try to get to the other side of the street when you see him/her coming?

G2. Pope Francis says that “vast wealth and resources are in the hands of few.” If it’s not in your capability to change that unjust situation, what smaller things can you do to answer the “cry of the poor”?

This scene reminds us of the harsh words of the Son of man during the final last judgment: “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was [...] naked and you did not clothe me” (Mt 25: 42)..

Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor of all times and the contradictions of a world where vast wealth and resources are in the hands of few. …

(Pope Francis concluded saying that) the Word of God can revive a withered heart and heal it of blindness, and that God’s saving message overturns the situations of this world by the triumph of His justice and mercy.

Pope Francis, To Ignore The Poor Is To Despise God
General Audience, May 18, 2016

**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.