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 September 30, 2018
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading

Numbers 11:25-29
The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
"Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, "
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses' aide, said,
"Moses, my lord, stop them."
But Moses answered him,
"Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"

First Reading Discussion Questions
F1. Joshua wanted Moses to stop Eldad and Medad’s prophesying because they didn’t follow the rules. Can you relate to this kind of problem?  Is Moses’ response in this reading related to Jesus’ response in the Gospel? How?

F2. Does the Spirit work in religions other than your own? Ever? Always? What might the Spirit be doing in them? Do gifts in other people help you see what God might be doing through them? If the origin of a gift is not clearly the Spirit, would “By their fruits you shall know them.” be a good test?

Second Reading

James 5:1-6
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Second Reading Discussion Questions
S1. Wages withheld from the harvesters cry aloud to the Lord of hosts, James says. How does his message apply today to arguments for federal minimum wage hike or for buying Fair Trade coffee? Or beefing up laws that would end human trafficking?

S2. James says that the rich got their wealth at the expense of the poor. How would the harvesters in the reading feel this? How would humane treatment from the rich relate to a living wage? To profound respect?

Gospel

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
At that time, John said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."
Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ, 
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

Gospel Discussion Questions
G1. What was Jesus’ response to the idea that no one outside the inner circle was to minister in his name? Can anyone lay exclusive claim to the reign of God as Jesus revealed it?

G2. The good every person does should be accepted, Pope Francis says below. How far does he go in accepting good works from others?

“If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do well.’ The disciples were a little intolerant, closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” This was wrong. ... Jesus broadens the horizon, reminding us that the Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us.

The objection is swift: ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. ... The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.

America, A Papal Cure for Intolerance, May 24 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.